[Central nervous system neuromodulation for the treatment of epilepsy]

Neurochirurgie. 2008 May;54(3):418-27. doi: 10.1016/j.neuchi.2008.02.034. Epub 2008 May 2.
[Article in French]


We present here a review of the work on neuromodulation - defined as application of an inhibitory or excitatory current - on intracranial structures for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. Near 250 patients were treated using a neuromodulation technique of the cerebellum (paravermian cortex), the CM-pf nucleus of the thalamus, the hippocampus, epileptogenic foci, and anterior ventral nucleus of the thalamus, with a one- to 15-year follow-up. Four contact strips were used for cerebellar and functional region neuromodulation, and DBS-type depth electrodes were stereotactically implanted for CM-pf and anterior nuclei of the thalamus and hippocampal neuromodulation. Electric stimulation was cyclic in almost all trials, using low frequency (10-40 Hz) for excitation and high frequency (60-185 Hz) for inhibition. Seizure frequency reduction was variable, depending on the neuromodulation site and patient selection, although seizure duration decreased in most patients. Cerebellar neuromodulation was followed by a 78% reduction in tonic and tonic-clonic seizures, CM-pf neuromodulation by an 83% reduction in tonic-clonic seizures and atypical absence of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, with a 17.2% seizure-free and drug-free patient rate. Hippocampal neuromodulation was followed by a 73% reduction in partial complex seizures, with a 33% seizure-free patient rate. Anterior ventral nucleus of the thalamus was followed by a 63% reduction in tonic-clonic, tonic and atonic seizures. Several prognostic factors were identified in order to improve future results. There was no mortality and morbidity was limited to skin erosion at the neurostimulator site. Seizure reduction was associated with improved neuropsychological performance and better quality of life. Neuromodulation is safe and effective for the treatment of epileptic seizures of various origins. Several targets may be associated in a single patient, especially when bilateral hippocampal seizure foci are present.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / surgery
  • Deep Brain Stimulation* / adverse effects
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Thalamus / physiopathology
  • Thalamus / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome