Corticospinal tract atrophy and motor fMRI predict motor preservation after functional cerebral hemispherectomy

Anthony C. Wang, George M. Ibrahim, Andrew V. Poliakov, Page I. Wang, Aria Fallah, Gary W. Mathern, Robert T. Buckley, Kelly Collins, Alexander G. Weil, Hillary A. Shurtleff, Molly H. Warner, Francisco A. Perez, Dennis W. Shaw, Jason N. Wright, Russell P. Saneto, Edward J. Novotny, Amy Lee, Samuel R. Browd, Jeffrey G. Ojemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE The potential loss of motor function after cerebral hemispherectomy is a common cause of anguish for patients, their families, and their physicians. The defcits these patients face are individually unique, but as a whole they provide a framework to understand the mechanisms underlying cortical reorganization of motor function. This study investigated whether preoperative functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) could predict the postoperative preservation of hand motor function. METHODS Thirteen independent reviewers analyzed sensorimotor fMRI and colored fractional anisotropy (CoFA)-DTI maps in 25 patients undergoing functional hemispherectomy for treatment of intractable seizures. Pre-and postoperative gross hand motor function were categorized and correlated with fMRI and DTI fndings, specifcally, abnormally located motor activation on fMRI and corticospinal tract atrophy on DTI. RESULTS Normal sensorimotor cortical activation on preoperative fMRI was signifcantly associated with severe decline in postoperative motor function, demonstrating 92.9% sensitivity (95% CI 0.661-0.998) and 100% specifcity (95% CI 0.715-1.00). Bilaterally robust, symmetric corticospinal tracts on CoFA-DTI maps were signifcantly associated with severe postoperative motor decline, demonstrating 85.7% sensitivity (95% CI 0.572-0.982) and 100% specifcity (95% CI 0.715-1.00). Interpreting the fMR images, the reviewers achieved a Fleiss' kappa coeffcient (k) for interrater agreement of k = 0.69, indicating good agreement (p <0.01). When interpreting the CoFA-DTI maps, the reviewers achieved k = 0.64, again indicating good agreement (p <0.01). CONCLUSIONS Functional hemispherectomy offers a high potential for seizure freedom without debilitating functional defcits in certain instances. Patients likely to retain preoperative motor function can be identifed prior to hemispherectomy, where fMRI or DTI suggests that cortical reorganization of motor function has occurred prior to the operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • DTI
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Epilepsy
  • Functional MRI
  • Hemispherectomy
  • Reorganization
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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