Linguistic deficits following left selective amygdalohippocampectomy: a prospective study

Epilepsy Behav. 2004 Jun;5(3):348-57. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2004.02.004.


Language deficits in 10 patients with medically intractable left-sided temporal lobe epilepsy prior to and following selective amygdalohippocampectomy are described. Preoperatively, a pattern of minor linguistic deficits was observed in three patients; isolated minor naming deficits were detectable in one additional patient. Three months after surgery, six patients' linguistic functions were unchanged, whereas in four patients, a significant decline in linguistic functions could be observed. All four patients revealed a very similar language syndrome characterized by reduced language comprehension and fluency, well-articulated speech, frequent word-finding difficulties, circumlocutions, and semantic paraphasias in the absence of any phonological disorder. These deficits remained stable during the 12-month follow-up period. However, magnetic resonance imaging did not show any neocortical lesions outside the resection area. Possible explanations for these findings include neuronal cell loss and deafferentiation in cortical areas, disruption of the basal temporal language area pathways, reorganization of the language network in chronic temporal lobe epilepsy, and neocortical lesions due to the surgical intervention. Furthermore, correlations between linguistic and demographic data for our patients suggest that patients older at epilepsy onset are at greater risk for developing postoperative language deficits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Amygdala / surgery*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Demography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / complications*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Hippocampus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / etiology*
  • Language Disorders / pathology
  • Language Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods