Longitudinal cerebellar diffusion tensor imaging changes in posterior fossa syndrome

Sean D. McEvoy, Amy Lee, Andrew Poliakov, Seth Friedman, Dennis Shaw, Samuel R. Browd, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, Christine L. Mac Donald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Posterior fossa syndrome is a severe transient loss of language that frequently complicates resection of tumors of the cerebellum. The associated pathophysiology and relevant anatomy to this language deficit remains controversial. We performed a retrospective analysis of all cerebellar tumor resections at Seattle Children's Hospital from 2010 to 2015. Diffusion tensor imaging was performed on each of the patients as part of their clinical scan. Patients included in the study were divided into groups based on language functioning following resection: intact (N = 19), mild deficit (N = 19), and posterior fossa syndrome (N = 9). Patients with posterior fossa syndrome showed white matter changes evidenced by reductions in fractional anisotropy in the left and right superior cerebellar peduncle following resection, and these changes were still evident 1-year after surgery. These changes were greater in the superior cerebellar peduncle than elsewhere in the cerebellum. Prior to surgery, posterior fossa patients did not show changes in fractional anisotropy however differences were observed in mean and radial diffusivity measures in comparison to other groups which may provide a radiographic marker of those at greatest risk of developing post-operative language loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-590
Number of pages9
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2016


  • Cerebellar mutism syndrome (CMS)
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Posterior fossa syndrome (PFS)
  • Tumor


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