NIH study examines results of lobectomy to treat epilepsy
June 20, 2005
A Medical Device Daily
According to a new study released by theNational Institute of Health’s Neurological Disorders and Stroke(Bethesda, Maryland), half of patients that received a temporal lobectomy for epilepsy are seizure-free 30 years later. Temporal lobectomy involves surgical removal of the temporal lobe of a cerebral hemisphere to eliminate the focus of electrical activity that triggers epileptic seizures. Researchers identified 48 patients who underwent temporal lobectomy between 1965 and 1974, and they reported the findings in a recent issue ofNeurology. According to the study, 27 patients were seizure-free or experienced only non-disabling auras one year after surgery. Thirty-two had at least one postoperative seizure at some point. The investigators found that some patients had a fluctuating course, with 15% experiencing a change in seizure control over periods of as long as a decade. A total of 50% were seizure-free after an average follow-up of 29.9 years. Ten had died, but only three deaths were a direct result of epilepsy. Study authors said that current surgical treatment of epilepsy is likely to result in even better outcomes, especially when neuroimaging such as MRI and PET scans are used to localize where seizures are coming from. Technical improvements also have been made as surgeons determine the minimum amount of brain tissue that needs to be removed in order get a good result, researchers said.