Resective epilepsy surgery
Resective epilepsy surgery based on an invasive EEG-monitors performed with subdural grids (SDG) or depth electrodes (stereoelectroencephalography, SEEG) is considered to be the best option towards achieving seizure-free state in drug resistant epilepsy.
Despite good outcomes from high-quality clinical trials, referrals of patients with seizures refractory to medical treatment remain infrequent 1).
Three RCTs (two adult RCTs and one pediatric RCT) consistently supported the efficacy of resective surgery as treatment for epilepsy with semiology localized to the mesial temporal lobe. In these studies, 58-100% of the patients who underwent resective surgery achieved seizure freedom, in comparison to 0-13% of medically treated patients. In another RCT, the likelihood of seizure freedom after resective surgery was independent of the surgical approach (transSylvian [64%] versus subtemporal [62%]). Two other RCTs demonstrated that hippocampal resection is essential to optimize seizure control. But, no significant gain in seizure control was achieved beyond removing 2.5 cm of the hippocampus. Across RCTs, minor complications (deficit lasting < 3 months) and major complications (deficit > 3 months) ranged 2-5% and 5-11% respectively. However, nonincapacitating superior subquadrantic visual-field defects (not typically considered a minor or major complication) were noted in up to 55% of the surgical cohort. The available RCTs provide compelling support for resective surgery as a treatment for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and offer insights toward optimal surgical strategy 2)
Complete removal of the epileptogenic zone significantly increases the chances for postoperative seizure-freedom. In complex surgical candidates, delineation of the epileptogenic zone requires a long-term invasive video/EEG from intracranial electrodes. It is especially challenging to achieve a complete resection in deep brain structures such as opercular insular cortex 3).
Belohlavkova et al. retrospectively reviewed data of pediatric patients operated in Motol Epilepsy Center between October 2010 and June 2020 who underwent resections guided by intraoperative visual detection of depth electrodes following SEEG. The outcome in terms of seizure- and AED-freedom was assessed individually in each patient.
Nineteen patients (age at surgery 2.9-18.6 years, median 13 years) were included in the study. The epileptogenic zone involved opercular insular cortex in eighteen patients. The intraoperative detection of the electrodes was successful in seventeen patients and the surgery was regarded complete in sixteen. Thirteen patients were seizure-free at final follow-up including six drug-free cases. The successful intraoperative detection of the electrodes was associated with favorable outcome in terms of achieving complete resection and seizure-freedom in most cases. On the contrary, the patients in whom the procedure failed had poor postsurgical outcome.
The reported technique helps to achieve the complete resection in challenging patients with the epileptogenic zone in deep brain structures 4)
81 patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) who had undergone resective epilepsy surgery at Sanbo Brain Hospital, between April 2004 and June 2019. They estimated the cumulative probability of remaining seizure-free and plotted survival curves. Variables were compared using Mann-Whitney U, Pearson’s correlation, continuity correction, and Fisher’s exact chi-square tests. Prognostic predictors were analyzed using log-rank (Mantel-Cox) tests and Cox regression models.
At the last follow-up, 48 (59.3%) patients were classified as International League Against Epilepsy Class 1 (including 14 patients who had seizures <3 times postoperatively on the same or different day and were seizure-free at all other times). The estimated cumulative probability of remaining seizure-free postoperatively was 69.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 58.8-79.2%), 61.9% (95% CI 51.1-72.7%), and 55.0% (95% CI 42.8-67.2%) at 2, 5, and 10 years, respectively. The mean time of remaining seizure-free was 7.24 ± 0.634 years (95% CI 6.00-8.49); en bloc resection was an essential positive predictor of postoperative seizure freedom, as was age at seizure onset, regional interictal video-electroencephalography pattern, and temporal lobe surgery. The longer the seizure-free time, the less likely a relapse. Patients who postoperatively experienced seizures remained likely to recover.