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Neurosurgery. 2007 Oct;61(4):741-52; discussion 752-3.

Resection of World Health Organization Grade II gliomas involving Broca's area: methodological and functional considerations.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Hassan II, Fez, Morocco.



Advances in functional mapping have enabled us to extend the indications of surgery for low-grade gliomas (LGGs) within eloquent regions. However, to our knowledge, no study has been specifically dedicated to the resection of LGGs within Broca's area. We report the first surgical series of LGGs involving this area by focusing on methodological and functional considerations.


Seven patients harboring an LGG in Broca's area (revealed by partial seizures) had a language functional magnetic resonance imaging scan and then underwent operation while awake using intrasurgical electrical mapping.


The neurological examination was normal in all patients despite mild language disturbances shown using the Boston Diagnosis Aphasia Examination. Both pre- and intraoperative cortical mapping found language reorganization with recruitment of the ventral and dorsal premotor cortices, orbitofrontal cortex, and insula, whereas no or few language sites were detected within Broca's area. Subcortically, electrostimulation allowed the identification and preservation of four structures still functional, including the arcuate fasciculus, fronto-occipital fasciculus, fibers from the ventral premotor cortex, and head of the caudate. Postoperatively, after transient language worsening, all patients recovered and returned to a normal socioprofessional life. The resection was total in three cases, subtotal in three, and partial in one patient (operated twice).


Our results indicate that, in patients with no aphasia despite LGGs within Broca's area, thanks to brain plasticity, the tumor can be removed while involving this "unresectable" structure without inducing sequelae and even improving the quality of life when intractable epilepsy is relieved on the condition that subcortical language connectivity is preserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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