Functional MRI of tongue motor tasks in patients with tongue cancer: observations before and after partial glossectomy
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The current study seeks to provide preliminary data regarding this central, adaptive response during tongue motor tasks utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after glossectomy.
Six patients, with confirmed histological diagnoses of oral tongue cancer, underwent fMRI before and 6 months after partial glossectomy. These data were compared to nine healthy controls. All subjects performed three tongue motor tasks during fMRI: tongue tapping (TT), dry swallow (Dry), and wet swallow (Wet).
Following surgery, increased activation was subjectively observed in the superior parietal lobule, supplementary motor area, and anterior cingulate. Region of interest (ROI) analysis of the precentral gyrus confirmed increased cortical activity following surgery. In addition, comparisons between pre-surgical scans and controls suggested the dry swallow task was sensitive to elicit tongue-related activation in the precentral gyrus (p ≤ 0.05).
The adaptive changes in the cortex following partial glossectomy reflect recruitment of the parietal, frontal, and cingulate cortex during tongue motor tasks. In addition, post-operative activation patterns more closely approximated control levels than the pre-operative scans. Furthermore, the dry swallow task appears most specific to elicit tongue-related cortical activity.
KeywordsTongue cancer Functional MRI Cortical adaptation Swallowing Glossectomy
The study was funded by Hackers for Hope, the Langeloth Foundation, and the Garban Fund.
Conflict of interest statement
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
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