Temporal lobe epilepsy surgery and the quest for optimal extent of resection: a review

Epilepsia. 2008 Aug;49(8):1296-307. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01604.x. Epub 2008 Apr 11.


The efficacy of surgery to treat drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) has been demonstrated in a prospective randomized trial. It remains controversial which resection method gives best results for seizure freedom and neuropsychological function. This review of 53 studies addressing extent of resection in surgery for TLE identified seven prospective studies of which four were randomized. There is considerable variability between the intended resection and the volumetrically assessed end result. Even leaving hippocampus or amygdalum behind can result in seizure freedom rates around 50%. Most authors found seizure outcome in selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SAH) to be similar to that of lobectomy and there is considerable evidence for better neuropsychological outcome in SAH. Studies varied in the relationship between extent of mesial resection and seizure freedom, most authors finding no positive correlation to larger mesial resection. Electrophysiological tailoring saw no benefit from larger resection in 6 of 10 studies. It must be concluded that class I evidence concerning seizure outcome related to type and extent of resection of mesial temporal lobe structures is rare. Many studies are only retrospective and do not use MRI volumetry. SAH appears to have similar seizure outcome and a better cognitive outcome than TLR. It remains unclear whether a larger mesial resection extent leads to better seizure outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / surgery
  • Anterior Temporal Lobectomy
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery*
  • Hippocampus / surgery
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / surgery