Monopolar high-frequency language mapping: Can it help in the surgical management of gliomas? A comparative clinical study

Marco Riva, Enrica Fava, Marcello Gallucci, Alessandro Comi, Alessandra Casarotti, Tommaso Alfiero, Fabio A. Raneri, Federico Pessina, Lorenzo Bello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Intraoperative language mapping is traditionally performed with low-frequency bipolar stimulation (LFBS). High-frequency train-of-five stimulation delivered by a monopolar probe (HFMS) is an alternative technique for motor mapping, with a lower reported seizure incidence. The application of HFMS in language mapping is still limited. Authors of this study assessed the efficacy and safety of HFMS for language mapping during awake surgery, exploring its clinical impact compared with that of LFBS. Methods Fifty-nine patients underwent awake surgery with neuropsychological testing, and LFBS and HFMS were compared. Frequency, type, and site of evoked interference were recorded. Language was scored preoperatively and 1 week and 3 months after surgery. Extent of resection was calculated as well. Results High-frequency monopolar stimulation induced a language disturbance when the repetition rate was set at 3 Hz. Interference with counting (p = 0.17) and naming (p = 0.228) did not vary between HFMS and LFBS. These results held true when preoperative tumor volume, lesion site, histology, and recurrent surgery were considered. Intraoperative responses (1603) in all patients were compared. The error rate for both modalities differed from baseline values (p <0.001) but not with one another (p = 0.06). Low-frequency bipolar stimulation sensitivity (0.458) and precision (0.665) were slightly higher than the HFMS counterparts (0.367 and 0.582, respectively). The error rate across the 3 types of language errors (articulatory, anomia, paraphasia) did not differ between the 2 stimulation methods (p = 0.279). Conclusions With proper setting adjustments, HFMS is a safe and effective technique for language mapping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1479-1489
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016


  • Awake brain surgery
  • Diagnostic and operative techniques
  • Direct electrical stimulation
  • Glioma
  • Language mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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