Object: Preservation of the vein of Labbé is recommended to prevent temporal lobe infarction after skull base surgery. However, the importance of preserving the vein in epilepsy surgery involving resection of the temporal lobe is unclear.
Methods: Retrospective analysis was performed in 47 cases, in which patients underwent temporal lobe resection, out of 148 cases in which patients underwent surgery for intractable seizures over a 5-year period. Standard temporal lobe resection anterior to the vein of Labbé was performed in 11 patients. In 24 patients, the temporal lobe resection extended posterior to the vein of Labbé; the vein was preserved in eight patients, who underwent surgery prior to 2002, and resected in the other 16 patients, who underwent surgery after 2002. Twelve patients underwent a temporoparietooccipital resection. There was no significant difference in the pattern of venous anatomy (based on analysis of the relative size of veins [chi-square test, p = 0.1] and the number of superficial veins draining the temporal lobe [p = 1]) in patients in whom the vein was resected compared with those in whom it was preserved. No patient experienced postoperative infarction.
Conclusions: The authors conclude that the vein of Labbé may be safely resected in epilepsy surgery involving temporal lobe resection. The decision whether to resect the vein need not be based on the surface venous drainage pattern or number of veins draining the temporal lobe.