Awake surgery for low-grade gliomas is currently considered the best procedure to improve the extent of resection and guarantee a "worth living life" for patients, meaning avoiding not only motor but also cognitive deficits. However, tumors located in the right hemisphere, especially in the right frontal lobe, are still rarely operated on in awake condition; one of the reasons possibly being that there is little information in the literature describing the rates and nature of long-lasting neuropsychological deficits following resection of right frontal glioma.
To investigate long-term cognitive deficits after awake surgery in right frontal IDH-mutated glioma.
We retrospectively analyzed a consecutive series of awake surgical resections between 2012 and 2020 for right frontal IDH-mutated glioma. We studied the patients' subjective complaints and objective neuropsychological evaluations, both before and after surgery. Our results were then put in perspective with the literature.
Twenty surgical cases (including 5 cases of redo surgery) in eighteen patients (medium age: 42.5 [range 26–58]) were included in the study. The median preoperative volume was 37 cc; WHO grading was II, III and IV in 70%, 20%, and 10% of cases, respectively. Preoperatively, few patients had related subjective cognitive or behavioral impairment, while evaluations revealed mild deficits in 45% of cases, most often concerning executive functions, attention, working memory and speed processing. Immediate postoperative evaluations showed severe dysexecutive syndrome in 75% of cases but also attentional deficits (65%), spatial neglect (60%) and behavioral disturbances (apathy, aprosodia/amimia, emotional sensitivity, anosognosia). Four months after surgery, although psychometric z-scores were unchanged at the group level, individual evaluations showed a slight decrease in performance in 9/20 cases (dysexecutive syndrome, speed processing, attention, semantic cognition, social cognition).
Our results are generally consistent with those of the literature, confirming that the right frontal lobe is a highly eloquent area and highlighting the importance of operating these patients in awake conditions.