Occult focal cortical dysplasia may predict poor outcome of surgery for drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy

PLoS One. 2021 Sep 30;16(9):e0257678. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257678. eCollection 2021.


Purpose: The results of surgery in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) associated with hippocampal sclerosis (HS) are favorable, with a success rate over 70% following resection. An association of HS with focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) in the temporal lobe is one of the potential causes for poor surgical outcome in MTLE. We aimed to analyzed seizure outcome in a population of MTLE patients and recognize the role of occult FCD in achieving postoperative seizure control.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed postoperative outcomes for 82 consecutive adult patients with the syndrome of MTLE due to HS, who had no concomitant lesions within temporal lobe in MRI and who underwent surgical treatment in the years 2005-2016, and correlated factors associated with seizure relapse.

Results: At the latest follow-up evaluation after surgery, 59 (72%) were free of disabling seizures (Engel Class I) and 48 (58,5%) had an Engel Class Ia. HS associated with FCD in neocortical structures were noted in 33 patients (40%). Analyzes have shown that dual pathology was the most significant negative predictive factor for Engel class I and Engel class Ia outcome.

Conclusions: The incidence of dual pathology in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy seems to be underestimated. An incomplete epileptogenic zone resection of occult focal temporal dysplasia within temporal lobe is supposed to be the most important negative prognostic factor for seizure freedom after epilepsy surgery in MTLE-HS patients. The study indicates the need to improve diagnostics for other temporal lobe pathologies, despite the typical clinical and radiological picture of MTLE-HS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Anterior Temporal Lobectomy / methods*
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / pathology
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / surgery*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Malformations of Cortical Development / complications
  • Malformations of Cortical Development / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberous Sclerosis
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.