Outcome and complications of chronically implanted subdural electrodes for the treatment of medically resistant epilepsy

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2013 Jul;115(7):985-90. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2012.10.007. Epub 2012 Nov 3.


Background: Surgery for medically resistant epilepsy is safe and effective. However, when noninvasive techniques are insufficient, then consideration is given to invasive electrocorticography (EcoG).

Objective: The aim of the study was to analyze results and complications of subdural electrodes placement in the treatment of intractable epilepsy.

Methods: Ninety-one consecutive patients who underwent placement of subdural electrodes (1999-2010) were considered for this study. All patients underwent a standardized pre-operative evaluation. Invasive subdural electrode placement was considered when there were inadequate ictal recordings, there was discordance between EEG and neuroimaging or the epileptogenic zone was localized near eloquent cortex.

Results: Resective epilepsy surgery was performed in 70/91 patients (76.9%). Twenty-four out of seventy (34.3%) who underwent surgical resection were seizure-free (CL-I) at last follow-up. A statistical evaluation revealed a very strong trend for patients with positive lesional pre-operative MRI to have improved outcomes compared to normal brain MRI population (p=.028). There were 10 surgical related complications (11%), but no mortality or permanent morbidity. Statistical analysis demonstrated that placement of a subdural grid in any combination was statistically significant (p=.01) for surgical complications.

Conclusions: Invasive monitoring is a useful and necessary technique for the surgical treatment of intractable epilepsy. Careful surveillance is required during the monitoring period especially when the patient has undergone large subdural grid placement. A good working hypothesis can minimize complications and achieve better outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Drug Resistance
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / adverse effects
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electrodes, Implanted* / adverse effects
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / surgery
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hematoma, Subdural / etiology
  • Hematoma, Subdural / therapy
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurophysiological Monitoring
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Subdural Space*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult