Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging and magnetic resonance imaging volumetry in the lateralization of temporal lobe epilepsy: a series of 100 patients

Ann Neurol. 1997 Nov;42(5):737-46. doi: 10.1002/ana.410420510.


Surgery is a safe and effective treatment for drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). However, bilateral electroencephalographic (EEG) abnormalities are frequently present, making presurgical lateralization difficult. New magnetic resonance (MR) techniques can help; proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) can detect and quantify focal neuronal damage or dysfunction based on reduced signals from the neuronal marker N-acetylaspartate, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based measurements of amygdala-hippocampal volumes (MRIVol) can improve the detection of atrophy of these structures. We performed proton MRSI and MRIVol in 100 consecutive patients with medically intractable TLE to determine how well these techniques agreed with the lateralization by extensive EEG investigation. We found that the EEG, MRSI, and MRIVol findings were highly concordant. The MRSI was abnormal in 99 of 100 patients (bilateral in 54%). The MRIVol was abnormal in 86 of 98 patients (bilateral in 28%). We obtained lateralization in 83% of patients using MRIVol alone, in 86% using MRSI alone, and in 90% by combining MRSI and MRIVol (vs 93% lateralization by EEG). MRSI was abnormal in 12 patients with normal MRIVol. The combination of proton MRSI and MRIVol can lateralize TLE accurately and noninvasively in the great majority of patients. By reducing reliance on EEG, these imaging techniques could reduce prolonged presurgical evaluation and make seizure surgery available to more patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / analysis
  • Creatinine / analysis
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protons
  • Temporal Lobe / chemistry
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Protons
  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatinine