Direct electrical stimulation mapping was used to map executive functions during awake surgery of a patient with a right frontal low-grade glioma. We specifically targeted the frontal aslant tract, as this pathway had been infiltrated by the tumor. The right frontal aslant tract has been implicated in executive functions in the neuroscientific literature, but is yet of unknown relevance for clinical practice. Guided by tractography, electrical stimulation of the frontal aslant tract disrupted working memory and inhibitory functions. In this report we illustrate the dilemmas that neurosurgeons face when balancing maximal tumor resection against optimal cognitive performance. In particular, we emphasize that intraoperative tasks that target cognitive functions should be carefully introduced in clinical practice to prevent clinically irrelevant responses and too early termination of the resection.
- Awake surgery
- Direct electrical stimulation
- Executive functions
- Frontal aslant tract