Sensorimotor function and sensorimotor tracts after hemispherectomy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Hemispherectomy is currently the only effective treatment for relieving constant seizures in children with severe or progressive unilateral cortical disease. Although early hemispherectomy has been advocated to avoid general dysfunction due to continued seizures, it remains unclear whether age at surgery affects specific sensorimotor functions. Little is know about the anatomical status of sensorimotor pathways after hemispherectomy and how it might relate to sensorimotor function. Here we measured motor function and sensory thresholds of the upper and lower limbs in 12 hemispherectomized patients. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to determine status of brainstem corticospinal tracts and medial lemniscus. Hemispherectomy subjects showed remarkable recovery in both sensory and motor function. Many patients showed normal sensory vibration thresholds. Within the smaller Rasmussen's subgroup, we saw a relationship between age at surgery and sensorimotor function recovery (i.e. earlier was better). Anatomically, we found marked asymmetry in brainstem corticospinal tracts but preserved symmetry in the medial lemniscus, which may relate to robust sensory recovery. Age at surgery predicted anatomical status of brainstem sensorimotor tracts. In sum, we found that age at surgery influences anatomical changes in brainstem motor pathways, and may also relate to sensorimotor recovery patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1199
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Corticospinal tract
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Dorsal column medial lemniscal tract
  • Fugl-Meyer assessment
  • Vibration sensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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