Memory Outcome after Left Anterior Temporal Lobectomy in Patients with Expected and Reversed Wada Memory Asymmetry Scores


  • Revision accepted July 31, 2001.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. Seidenberg at Department of Psychology, Chicago Medical School, 3333 Green Bay Rd., North Chicago, IL 60064, U.S.A. E-mail:


Summary:  Purpose: The ideal candidate for anterior temporal lobectomy surgery shows a Wada memory asymmetry (WMA) score characterized by better memory performance in the hemisphere contralateral to the seizure focus relative to the ipsilateral (surgical) hemisphere. However, some surgical candidates show a reversed WMA or better Wada memory performance in the hemisphere of surgical interest relative to the hemisphere contralateral to the seizure focus. To date, no data are available contrasting memory and seizure outcome for these two Wada groups. The present study compared memory and seizure outcome after left anterior temporal lobectomy (L-ATL) in patients showing expected and reversed WMA scores, and also examined the relationship of the individual hemisphere Wada memory scores for predicting verbal memory outcome after L-ATL.

Methods: We compared 6-month postoperative verbal memory change scores and seizure outcome in L-ATL patients with either an expected (n = 12) or reversed WMA (n = 9) pattern on Wada memory testing.

Results: L-ATL patients showing a reversed WMA score had a poorer verbal memory outcome and poorer seizure control after surgery compared with patients showing a WMA score in the expected direction.

Conclusions: L-ATL patients with a reversed WMA score have a greater risk for memory morbidity and poorer seizure outcome than do patients with a WMA score in the expected direction. The WMA score was the best predictor of memory outcome after L-ATL. When the WMA score is not considered, both individual Wada hemisphere scores (contralateral and ipsilateral) provided significant and independent contribution to predicting postoperative verbal memory functioning. These findings are discussed in the context of the functional reserve and hippocampal adequacy models of memory change after temporal lobectomy.