We investigated individual short- and long-term verbal memory changes after temporal lobe resection for epilepsy. Fifty-one patients (23 operated on the speech-dominant temporal lobe, DTL and 28 on the non-dominant temporal lobe, NDTL) were tested on learning/immediate recall and delayed recall of word-list and word-pairs preoperatively, 2 years postoperatively and 10years postoperatively. Changes were defined using reliable change indices of 23 healthy controls assessed at corresponding intervals. Fewer patients had reliable declines at 10 years than at 2 years (DTL: 13-35% vs 35-44%; NDTL: 0-4% vs 7-21%). Four DTL patients (17%) had reliable declines in ≥2 tests at 10-year follow-up. More NDTL patients had improvement at 10 years than at 2 years (18-30% vs 4-22%). The only risk factor for decline both short and long term was DTL resection. In conclusion, most patients had stable verbal memory postoperatively. A few DTL patients had a lasting decline at long-term follow-up, but more patients showed partial recovery, especially in the NDTL group.
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