Outcome of frontal lobe epilepsy surgery

Epilepsia. 2012 Oct;53(10):1746-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03582.x. Epub 2012 Jul 10.


Purpose: There is still controversy in deciding which patients with frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) should undergo resective surgery, even though it is a well-established therapy. The aim of this study is to define multiple outcome measures and determine whether there are certain subpopulations of preferred surgical candidates that have a more favorable seizure prognosis.

Methods: Fifty-eight patients underwent resective FLE surgery with a mean follow-up period of 79.3 months (range 12-208 months). Patient demographics, clinical seizure characteristics, seizure-onset zone within the frontal lobes, and diagnostic tests were tabulated. Engel class, International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) class, postoperative seizure patterns, time to first recurrent seizure, and seizures and employment during the last year of follow-up were used as outcome measures. Neuropsychological performance and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores were used to define neuropsychological outcome and examined as predictors of seizure outcome.

Key findings: Thirty-three (57%) patients with resective surgery had an Engel class I outcome and 29 (50%) had an ILAE class I outcome. Mean time to first seizure after surgery was 33.3 months (range 0-208). Only 14 patients (24%) were completely seizure-free without auras (Engel IA) throughout the entire follow-up period. The most common pattern of seizure recurrence was mixed, with prolonged periods of seizure freedom intermixed with recurrences. In addition, 32% of patients made gains in employment and 52% were able to reduce use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), although only 9% discontinued AEDs. No significant association was found between class I or class IA outcome and the presence of a focal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormality, any specific localization of seizure focus within the frontal lobe, or neuropsychological change.

Significance: Findings indicate that that long-term outcome is generally favorable in FLE resective surgery, and support the need for considering multiple outcome measures to more fully characterize clinically relevant postsurgical changes. Outcome can be favorable even in MRI-negative patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Electroencephalography
  • Employment
  • Epilepsy, Frontal Lobe / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Frontal Lobe / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology*
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Treatment Outcome*
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation
  • Young Adult


  • Anticonvulsants