Laser ablation is effective for temporal lobe epilepsy with and without mesial temporal sclerosis if hippocampal seizure onsets are localized by stereoelectroencephalography

Epilepsia. 2018 Mar;59(3):595-606. doi: 10.1111/epi.14004. Epub 2018 Feb 2.


Objective: Selective laser amygdalohippocampotomy (SLAH) using magnetic resonance-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) is emerging as a treatment option for drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). SLAH is less invasive than open resection, but there are limited series reporting its safety and efficacy, particularly in patients without clear evidence of mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS).

Methods: We report seizure outcomes and complications in our first 30 patients who underwent SLAH for drug-resistant MTLE between January 2013 and December 2016. We compare patients who required stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) to confirm mesial temporal onset with those treated based on imaging evidence of MTS.

Results: Twelve patients with SEEG-confirmed, non-MTS MTLE and 18 patients with MRI-confirmed MTS underwent SLAH. MTS patients were older (median age 50 vs 30 years) and had longer standing epilepsy (median 40.5 vs 5.5 years) than non-MTS patients. Engel class I seizure freedom was achieved in 7 of 12 non-MTS patients (58%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 30%-86%) and 10 of 18 MTS patients (56%, 95% CI 33%-79%), with no significant difference between groups (odds ratio [OR] 1.12, 95% CI 0.26-4.91, P = .88). Length of stay was 1 day for most patients (range 0-3 days). Procedural complications were rare and without long-term sequelae.

Significance: We report similar rates of seizure freedom following SLAH in patients with MTS and SEEG-confirmed, non-MTS MTLE. Consistent with early literature, these rates are slightly lower than typically observed with surgical resection (60%-80%). However, SLAH is less invasive than open surgery, with shorter hospital stays and recovery, and severe procedural complications are rare. SLAH may be a reasonable first-line surgical option for patients with both MTS and SEEG confirmed, non-MTS MTLE.

Keywords: laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT); magnetic resonance thermometry; medically refractory epilepsy; mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE); mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS); selective laser amygdalohippocampotomy (SLAH); stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Electroencephalography / trends
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Hippocampus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Laser Therapy / trends
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sclerosis
  • Stereotaxic Techniques* / trends
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult