Object: The authors introduce a minimal-access subtemporal approach for selective resection of the amygdala and hippocampus in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy and describe seizure and neuropsychological outcomes.
Methods: Between October 2003 and April 2007, 41 consecutive patients with intractable unilateral nonlesional temporal lobe epilepsy underwent image-guided subtemporal amygdalohippocampectomy. Baseline characteristics, preoperative evaluations, and seizure outcomes were assessed. Eighteen patients underwent pre- and postoperative neuropsychological testing for cognitive functioning, executive functioning, verbal and visual memory, and mood.
Results: Important aspects of the subtemporal approach include a low temporal keyhole craniotomy, use of image guidance, preservation of the tentorium, incision in the fusiform gyrus, and subpial, en bloc resection of the hippocampus. There were no deaths and no cases of significant postoperative morbidity. At 1 year, 29 of 36 patients (81%) were without seizures or auras. At 2 years, 17 of 23 (74%) patients were seizure- and aura-free. Detailed neuropsychological testing of language, memory, cognitive functioning, and executive functioning suggested that most patients exhibited either stability or improvement in their scores, regardless of language lateralization.
Conclusions: A minimal-access subtemporal approach for amygdalohippocampectomy is an effective treatment for temporal lobe epilepsy yielding encouraging preliminary seizure and neuropsychological outcomes.