Morphology, morphometry and probability mapping of the pars opercularis of the inferior frontal gyrus: an in vivo MRI analysis


: Dr Francesco Tomaiuolo, I.R.C.C.S. ‘Santa Lucia’, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy. E-mail:


The pars opercularis occupies the posterior part of the inferior frontal gyrus. Electrical stimulation or damage of this region interferes with language production. The present study investigated the morphology and morphometry of the pars opercularis in 108 normal adult human cerebral hemispheres by means of magnetic resonance imaging. The brain images were transformed into a standardized proportional steoreotaxic space (i.e. that of Talairach and Tournoux) in order to minimize interindividual brain size variability. There was considerable variability in the shape and location of the pars opercularis across brains and between cerebral hemispheres. There was no significant difference or correlation between left and right hemisphere grey matter volumes. There was also no significant difference between sex and side of asymmetry of the pars opercularis. A probability map of the pars opercularis was constructed by averaging its location and extent in each individual normalized brain into Talairach space to aid in localization of activity changes in functional neuroimaging studies.