Left hemispherectomy in older children and adolescents: outcome of cognitive abilities



Hemispherectomy is an effective treatment option for pharmacoresistant epilepsy. Nevertheless, when high cortical functions are at risk during the presurgical evaluation, especially for older children, and for the left hemisphere, despite good seizure outcome, the anticipated decrease of cognitive functions may prevent a decision to perform surgery. The objective of this study is to report the cognitive outcome, based on verbal and performance intelligence skills, in a series of older children and adolescents who underwent left hemispherectomy, analyzing the risks (residual cognitive deficit) and benefits (seizure reduction) of surgery.


We retrospectively analyzed pre- and postoperative clinical and neuropsychological data from our patients who underwent left hemispherectomy, aged between 6 and 18 years.


We included 15 patients, with a mean follow-up of 3.1 years, 12 patients (80%) were Engel I, and the other three were classified as Engel II, III, and IV. Nine patients were tested by Wechsler Scales of Intelligence; postsurgically all but one kept the same intellectual levels; verbal intelligence quotient (VIQ) remained unchanged in 13 and improved in one, whereas performance intelligence quotient (PIQ) decreased in four patients. Both Total Vineland and communication scores of Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales were obtained in six patients: in all, scores were classified as deficient adaptive functioning pre- and postoperatively, remaining unchanged.


The evaluation of the remaining intellectual abilities after left hemispherectomy in older children and adolescents is useful to discuss the risks and benefits of this surgery, enabling better and safer decisions regarding surgical indications and timing.

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None of the authors has any conflict of interest to disclose. We confirm that we have read the Journal’s position on issues involved in ethical publication and affirm that this report is consistent with those guidelines.

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Correspondence to Ana Paula Hamad.

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Silva, J.R., Sakamoto, A.C., Thomé, Ú. et al. Left hemispherectomy in older children and adolescents: outcome of cognitive abilities. Childs Nerv Syst 36, 1275–1282 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00381-019-04377-9

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  • Dominant hemisphere
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Neuropsychology
  • Seizure outcome