Objective: To examine trends in epilepsy-related surgical procedures performed at major epilepsy centers in the US between 2003 and 2012, and in the service provision infrastructure of epilepsy centers over the same time period.
Methods: We analyzed data from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers' (NAEC) annual surveys. The total annual figures, annual average figures per center and annual rates of each surgical procedure based on US population numbers for that year were calculated. Additional information on center infrastructure and manpower was also examined.
Results: The number of the NAEC's level 3 and level 4 epilepsy centers submitting annual survey reports increased from 37 centers in 2003 to 189 centers in 2012. The average reported number of Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) beds per center increased from 7 beds in 2008 to 8 beds in 2012. Overall annual EMU admission rates doubled between 2008 and 2012 but the average number of EMU admissions and epilepsy surgeries performed per center declined over the same period. The annual rate of anterior temporal lobectomies (ATL) for mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) declined by >65% between 2006 and 2010. The annual rate of extratemporal surgery exceeded that of ATL for MTS from 2008 onwards, doubled between 2007 and 2012 and comprised 38% of all resective surgeries in 2012. Vagus nerve stimulator implant rates consistently increased year on year and exceeded resective surgeries in 2011 and 2012.
Conclusion: The last decade has seen a major change in the US epilepsy surgery landscape. Temporal lobectomies, particularly for MTS, have declined despite an increase in EMU admissions. On the other hands, case complexity correspondingly increased as evidenced by more extratemporal surgery, intracranial recordings and palliative procedures.
Keywords: Epilepsy surgery; Refractory epilepsy; Temporal trends.
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