Brain plasticity and tumors

  • H. Duffau
Part of the Advances and Technical Standards in Neurosurgery book series (NEUROSURGERY, volume 33)


Brain plasticity is the potential of the nervous system to reshape itself during ontogeny, learning or following injuries. The first part of this article reviews the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying plasticity at different functional levels. Such plastic potential means that the anatomo-functional organization of the brain in humans, both physiological and pathological, has flexibility. Patterns of reorganization may differ according to the time-course of cerebral damage, with better functional compensation in more slowly growing lesions. The second part of this review analyzes the interactions between tumor growth and brain reshaping, using non-invasive (neuroimaging) and invasive (electrophysiological) methods of functional mapping. Finally, the therapeutic implications provided by a greater understanding of these mechanisms of cerebral redistribution are explored from a surgical point of view. Enhanced preoperative prediction of an individual’s potential for reorganization might be integrated into surgical planning and preserving quality of life through tailored rehabilitation programmes to optimize functional recovery following resection of a brain tumor.


Brain plasticity sensorimotor language functional neuroimaging electrical stimulation mapping brain tumor neuro-oncology low-grade glioma 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Duffau
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Hôpital Gui de ChauliacCHU de MontpellierMontpellier CedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurosciences Cognitives (CNRS FRE 2987/Université de Paris V René Descartes)Institut de PsychologieBoulogne BillancourtFrance

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