Surgical pathology of temporal lobe epilepsy. Experience with 216 cases

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1993 Sep;52(5):499-506. doi: 10.1097/00005072-199309000-00008.


The surgical treatment of chronic epilepsies is increasing rapidly. Here we report the histopathologic findings in 216 consecutive surgical specimens of patients with chronic pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy. In 75 cases (34.7%) there were tumors, all but two of which were of low histopathological grade (WHO grade I or II). The most common tumors were gangliogliomas (34 cases), pilocytic astrocytomas (17 cases), oligodendrogliomas (9 cases), fibrillary astrocytomas (6 cases), and dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors (6 cases). There were 51 cases with non-neoplastic focal lesions and an additional 13 cases with tumors and non-neoplastic focal lesions within the same specimen. The most frequent non-neoplastic focal lesions were microscopic glioneuronal hamartias (32 cases), glioneuronal hamartomas (7 cases), and vascular malformations (13 cases). The hippocampal formation was structurally well preserved in 71 specimens. In 51 of these (71.8%) there was Ammon's horn sclerosis. Presurgical placement of depth electrodes was invariably associated with circumscribed defects of the brain parenchyma. The implantation of subdural electrodes was sometimes followed by chronic inflammatory changes of the leptomeninges. Our findings indicate that in the majority of patients with medically intractable temporal lobe epilepsy there are significant histopathologic findings, many of which are only rarely encountered otherwise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Child
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / complications
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery*
  • Female
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Oligodendroglioma / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Xanthomatosis / pathology