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Epilepsy Res. 2007 Oct;77(1):11-6. Epub 2007 Sep 11.

Intersubject variability in the anterior extent of the optic radiation assessed by tractography.

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Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Section of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, Epilepsy Research Group, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Sweden.



Temporal lobe resection for epilepsy involves a risk of damaging the anterior part of the optic radiation, Meyer's loop, causing a contralateral upper quadrant visual field defect. This study aims to assess the intersubject variability in the course of Meyer's loop in vivo by diffusion tensor imaging and tractography.


Seven healthy volunteers and two patients with previous temporal lobe resection were recruited. Diffusion tensor imaging and tractography were used to visualize the optic radiation. The distances from the anterior edge of Meyer's loop to landmarks in the temporal lobe were calculated.


In the healthy subjects, the mean distance between the most anterior part of Meyer's loop and the temporal pole was 44 mm (range 34-51 mm). Meyer's loop did not reach the tip of the temporal horn in any subject. A disruption in Meyer's loop could be demonstrated in the patient with quadrantanopia after temporal lobe resection.


Meyer's loop has a considerable variability in its anterior extent. Tractography may be a useful method to visualize Meyer's loop, and assess the risk of a visual field defect, prior to temporal lobe resection.

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