The reliability of neuroanatomy as a predictor of eloquence: A review
The adjacency of intracranial pathology to canonical regions of eloquence has long been considered a significant source of potential morbidity in the neurosurgical care of patients. Yet, several reports exist of patients who undergo resection of gliomas or other intracranial pathology in eloquent regions without adverse effects. This raises the question of whether anatomical and intracranial location can or should be used as a means of estimating eloquence. In this review, the authors systematically evaluate the factors that are known to affect anatomical-functional relationships, including anatomical, functional, pathology-related, and modality-specific sources of variability. This review highlights the unpredictability of functional eloquence based on anatomical features alone and the fact that patients should not be considered ineligible for surgical intervention based on anatomical considerations alone. Rather, neurosurgeons need to take advantage of modern technology and mapping techniques to create individualized maps and management plans. An individualized approach allows one to expand the number of patients who are considered for and who potentially may benefit from surgical intervention. Perhaps most importantly, an individualized approach to mapping patients with brain tumors ensures that the risk of iatrogenic functional injury is minimized while maximizing the extent of resection.