McGovern et al., performed a retrospective, single-center study in consecutive children with medically refractory epilepsy who were undergoing robot-assisted SEEG. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to calculate the probability of seizure freedom. Both univariate and multivariate methods were used to analyze the preoperative and operative factors associated with seizure freedom.
Fifty-seven children underwent a total of 64 robot-assisted procedures. The patients’ mean age was 12 years, an average of 6.4 antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) per patient had failed prior to implantation, and in 56% of the patients the disease was considered nonlesional. On average, children had 12.4 electrodes placed per implantation, with an implantation time of 9.6 minutes per electrode and a 10-day postoperative stay. SEEG analysis yielded a definable epileptogenic zone in 51 (89%) patients; 42 (74%) patients underwent surgery, half of whom were seizure free at last follow-up, 19.6 months from resection. In a multivariate generalized linear model, resective surgery, older age, and shorter SEEG-related hospital length of stay were associated with seizure freedom. In a Cox proportional hazards model including only the children who underwent resective surgery, older age was the only significant factor associated with seizure freedom. Complications related to bleeding were the major contributors to morbidity. One patient (1.5%) had a symptomatic hemorrhage resulting in a permanent neurological deficit.
McGovern et al., reported one of the largest pediatric-specific SEEG series demonstrating that the modern surgical management of medically refractory epilepsy in children can lead to seizure freedom in many patients, while also highlighting the challenges posed by this difficult patient population 1).
Willems et al., analyzed 18 consecutive patients (mean age: 30.5 years, range: 12-46; 61% female) undergoing invasive presurgical video-EEG monitoring via sEEG electrodes (n = 167 implanted electrodes) over a period of 2.5 years with robot-assisted implantation. There were no neurological deficits reported after implantation or explantation in any of the enrolled patients. Postimplantation imaging showed a minimal subclinical subarachnoid hemorrhage in one patient and further workup revealed a previously unknown factor VII deficiency. No injuries or status epilepticus occurred during video-EEG monitoring. In one patient, a seizure-related asymptomatic cross break of two fixation screws was found and led to revision surgery. Unspecific symptoms like headaches or low-grade fever were present in 10 of 18 (56%) patients during the first days of video-EEG monitoring and were transient. Postexplantation imaging showed asymptomatic and small bleedings close to four electrodes (2.8%).
Overall, sEEG is a safe and well-tolerated procedure. Systematic imaging after implantation and explantation helps to identify clinically silent complications of sEEG. In the literature, complication rates of up to 4.4% in sEEG and in 49.9% of subdural EEG are reported; however, systematic imaging after explantation was not performed throughout the studies, which may have led to underreporting of associated complications 2).
Over a period of 4 years, Serletis et al., prospectively identified 200 patients with refractory epilepsy who collectively underwent 2663 tailored SEEG electrode implantations for invasive intracranial EEG monitoring and extraoperative mapping. The first 122 patients underwent conventional Leksell frame-based SEEG electrode placement; the remaining 78 patients underwent frameless stereotaxy under robotic guidance, following acquisition of a stereotactic ROSA robotic device at the authors’ institution. Electrodes were placed according to a preimplantation hypothesis of the presumed epileptogenic zone, based on a standardized preoperative workup including video-EEG monitoring, MRI, PET, ictal SPECT, and neuropsychological assessment. Demographic features, seizure semiology, number and location of implanted SEEG electrodes, and location of the epileptogenic zone were recorded and analyzed for all patients. For patients undergoing subsequent craniotomy for resection, the type of resection and procedure-related complications were prospectively recorded. These results were analyzed and correlated with pathological diagnosis and postoperative seizure outcomes.
The epileptogenic zone was confirmed by SEEG in 154 patients (77%), of which 134 (87%) underwent subsequent craniotomy for epileptogenic zone resection. Within this cohort, 90 patients had a minimum follow-up of at least 12 months; therein, 61 patients (67.8%) remained seizure free, with an average follow-up period of 2.4 years. The most common pathological diagnosis was focal cortical dysplasia Type I (55 patients, 61.1%). Per electrode, the surgical complications included wound infection (0.08%), hemorrhagic complications (0.08%), and a transient neurological deficit (0.04%) in a total of 5 patients (2.5%). One patient (0.5%) ultimately died due to intracerebral hematoma directly ensuing from SEEG electrode placement 3).
Four hundred nineteen procedures were performed in the Claudio Munari Centre for Epilepsy and Parkinson Surgery, Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, Milano, Italy with the traditional 2-step surgical workflow, which was modified for the subsequent 81 procedures. The new workflow entailed acquisition of brain 3-dimensional angiography and magnetic resonance imaging in frameless and markerless conditions, advanced multimodal planning, and robot-assisted implantation. Quantitative analysis for in vivo entry point and target point localization error was performed on a sub–data set of 118 procedures (1567 electrodes).
The methodology allowed successful implantation in all cases. Major complication rate was 12 of 500 (2.4%), including 1 death for indirect morbidity. Median entry point localization error was 1.43 mm (interquartile range, 0.91-2.21 mm) with the traditional workflow and 0.78 mm (interquartile range, 0.49-1.08 mm) with the new one (P < 2.2 × 10). Median target point localization errors were 2.69 mm (interquartile range, 1.89-3.67 mm) and 1.77 mm (interquartile range, 1.25-2.51 mm; P < 2.2 × 10), respectively.
SEEG is a safe and accurate procedure for the invasive assessment of the epileptogenic zone. Traditional Talairach methodology, implemented by multimodal planning and robot-assisted surgery, allows direct electrical recording from superficial and deep-seated brain structures, providing essential information in the most complex cases of drug-resistant epilepsy 4).