Frontal, Temporal, Parietal, and Occipital Lobe Strokes

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A stroke can affect any part of the brain. When one of the main arteries that provides blood to the brain becomes blocked, an ischemic stroke can result, which means that the impaired region of the brain no longer functions as it should.

The largest region of the brain is called the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is divided into several lobes, which have different functions and receive their blood supply from different arteries.

Each side (hemisphere) of the cerebral cortex has a frontal lobe, a temporal lobe, a parietal lobe, and an occipital lobe. Strokes affecting gray matter (cortex) of one or more lobes of the brain are described as cortical strokes. Cortical strokes tend to be somewhat large strokes due to the way the blood vessels in the brain are distributed. The different types of cortical strokes have very different effects on physical function and behavior because the different lobes of the brain each have unique functions.

Frontal Lobe Strokes

The frontal lobe is the largest lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is involved in controlling the movement of the body. It is also important in memory, attention, thinking, language, problem-solving, and maintaining appropriate behavior. When stroke affects the frontal lobe, symptoms can include language deficits, weakness, and/ or sensory loss on the other part of the body. The type of speech problem is called Broca's aphasia if a dominant hemisphere is involved. In this type of aphasia, patient has difficulty with word production. Their comprehension is relatively normal, but they have difficulties coming up with grammatically correct sentences and their speech is limited to short phrases and incomplete sentences

A frontal lobe stroke produces a number of effects, which may include weakness of one side of the body, behavioral changes, memory problems and trouble with self-care.

It can be very difficult for caregivers, family members, and stroke survivors to manage the effects of a frontal lobe stroke. Becoming familiar with these symptoms can help you accept some of the changes that people go through after a frontal lobe stroke.

Some stroke survivors who experience frontal lobe strokes may develop post-stroke seizures.

Temporal Lobe Strokes

The temporal lobe is particularly important in language perception, memory, and hearing.

A temporal lobe stroke can produce trouble with communication, which is called aphasia. Language function is primarily located on the dominant side of the brain, which is the left side of the brain for right-handed people, and the right side of the brain for many left-handed people. Therefore, a temporal lobe stroke is more likely to produce aphasia if it occurs on the dominant side of the brain.

The specific type of aphasia caused by a temporal lobe stroke is called Wernicke's aphasia (receptive aphasia), in which patient is able to speak but their speech lacks meaning. Patients are also usually unaware of their language deficit. They also have difficulty understanding written and spoken language. In majority of cases patients do not have motor deficits (weakness).

Parietal Lobe Strokes

The parietal lobes are important regions of the brain that are critical in the perception of self, and the ability to feel our surroundings. A parietal lobe stroke may cause a loss of sensation affecting one side of the face, arm or leg. The parietal lobe is also involved in language function and analytical thinking.

A parietal lobe stroke on the dominant side of the brain can also cause Wernicke's aphasia, due to the fact that the affected area is located in the part of the brain where the temporal and parietal lobes meet.

Sometimes, stroke survivors who have Wernicke's aphasia speak very quickly and fluently but substitute nonsense words for real words. This makes it very difficult for stroke survivors who have Wernicke's aphasia to participate in speech therapy.

A parietal lobe stroke produces a number of vision changes, causes trouble with spatial perception, and results in problems with motor tasks.

Occipital Lobe Strokes

The occipital lobes are vital for visual processing. A stroke of the occipital lobe can cause vision loss or partial vision loss of one eye or both eyes.

Because of the way the blood vessels are arranged in the brain, occipital lobe strokes are less common than strokes affecting the frontal lobes, temporal lobes, and parietal lobes.

A Word From Verywell

If you or your loved one has experienced a stroke, you are likely to hear your stroke described by type: either an ischemic stroke (a stroke caused by blockage of an artery in the brain) or a hemorrhagic stroke (a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain).

You are also likely to hear your stroke described by location: either a brainstem stroke, a subcortical, lacunar, small vessel stroke, or a large vessel cortical stroke. Within these subdivisions, there are even more specific types of strokes. The advantage of knowing exactly which type of stroke you or your loved one has had lies in knowing what to expect as you recover.

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Article Sources
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  1. Frontotemporal Disorders: Hope Through Research. National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. August 2019

  2. Pula JH, Yuen CA. Eyes and stroke: the visual aspects of cerebrovascular disease. Stroke Vasc Neurol. 2017;2(4):210–220. Published 2017 Jul 6. doi:10.1136/svn-2017-000079

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