Technology Could Bring Safer Brain Tumor Surgery

Tracking brain activity during procedure may prevent damage to language centers

MONDAY, April 24, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- High-tech brain mapping during brain tumor surgery could help shield patients from the damage to speech and language centers that can occur during these delicate procedures.

According to researchers, "intraoperative language mapping" involves operating on an awake patient and mapping the anatomy of the patient's language function during the procedure. This helps surgeons identify which portions of the tumor can be safely removed without seriously damaging the patient's language function.

Dr. Nader Sanai and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco studied 250 patients who underwent the surgeries to remove deadly glioma brain tumors and found that:

  • Overall, 159 patients (63.6 percent) had intact speech after the operation,
  • At one week following the surgery, 194 (77.6 percent) remained at their baseline language function, while 21 (8.4 percent) worsened, and 35 (14 percent) had new speech deficits,
  • At six months after the surgery, 52 (92.8 percent) of 56 patients with new or worsened language deficits returned to baseline or better, and the remaining four (7.1 percent) had permanent deficits,
  • Overall, 1.6 percent of the patients developed permanent postoperative language deficits.

The findings were presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, in San Francisco.

"This series of patients represents the largest study to date examining intraoperative language mapping for gliomas, and supports the use of language mapping as the rule, rather than the exception, for dominant hemisphere gliomas," Sanai said.

"The findings support the conclusion that cortical language mapping may be used as a safe and efficient adjunct to optimize glioma resection while preserving essential language sites."

More information

The National Library of Medicine has more about gliomas.

Robert Preidt

Robert Preidt

Updated on October 08, 2007

Read this Next
About UsOur ProductsCustom SolutionsHow it’s SoldOur ResultsDeliveryContact UsBlogPrivacy PolicyFAQ