Epilepsy surgery offers the chance of seizure remission for the 30%-40% of patients with focal epilepsy whose seizures continue despite anti-epileptic medications. Epilepsy surgery encompasses curative resective procedures, palliative techniques such as corpus callosotomy and implantation of stimulation devices. Pre-surgical evaluation aims to identify the epileptogenic zone and to prevent post-operative neurological and cognitive deficits. This entails optimal imaging, prolonged video-electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, and neuropsychological and psychiatric assessments; some patients may then require nuclear medicine imaging and intracranial EEG recording. The best outcomes are in those with an electro-clinically concordant structural lesion on MRI (60%-70% seizure freedom). Lower rates of seizure freedom are expected in people with extra-temporal lobe foci, focal-to-bilateral tonic-clonic seizures, normal structural imaging, psychiatric co-morbidity and learning disability. Nevertheless, surgery for epilepsy is under-used and should be considered for all patients with refractory focal epilepsy in whom two or three anti-epileptic medications have been ineffective.
Keywords: epilepsy; epilepsy surgery.
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