Purpose: This study examined the independent contributions of medical and psychosocial factors to perceived surgical success. We aimed to develop a multidimensional model predictive of perceived surgical outcome.
Methods: Fifty anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) patients were prospectively assessed, using a formally coded, semistructured clinical interview. This has been routinely administered pre- and post-operatively as part of a larger, nationwide study of Australian ATL patients. The interview covers a broad range of epileptological, psychiatric, neuropsychological and psychosocial issues. Variables from these domains were examined in relation to the patient's perception of surgical success at the 6-month post-operative review.
Results: Variables that correlated with success were analysed using principal components analysis and multiple regression. A predictive model of perceived surgical success emerged, which highlighted the multidimensionality of outcome. Independent effects were observed for both medical and psychosocial factors. These included the patients' pre-operative expectations of surgery, their post-operative seizure outcome, and affective state. The findings also highlighted the importance of discarding sick role behaviours associated with chronic epilepsy, after surgery.
Conclusions: Traditional outcome measures (seizure frequency, post-operative affect) are significant in the patient's evaluation of surgical success. These traditional measures, however, do not account for the process of psychosocial adjustment surrounding seizure surgery. This process involves two major components: (1) positive anticipation of change prior to surgery, and (2) learning to discard roles associated with chronic epilepsy after surgery.