• Epilepsy surgery;
  • Patient aims;
  • Quality of Life

Summary:  Purpose: To evaluate prospectively patient's aims for epilepsy surgery as previously outlined theoretically by Taylor et al. (Epilepsia 1997;3:625–30).

Methods: Ninety-three consecutive patients were interviewed by a psychiatrist as part of their evaluation for epilepsy surgery. Open-ended questions about the patient were asked, and carers' aims or ambitions for change as a result of putative relief of seizures were elicited. The interviewer aimed to obtain a maximum of five aims for later follow-up purposes. These questions were part of an extensive psychiatric interview that is described.

Results: The aims of 69 patients or carers were analyzed. The 204 statements of aims were grouped into 59 categories initially. The five most frequently cited constituted 50% of all the aims listed. These aims were desire for work, driving of motor vehicles, independence, socializing, and freedom from drugs. The patients rarely identified a desire for improvement in cognitive functioning as an aim for epilepsy surgery. A final analysis into six categories showed that changes in social process predominated, even over changes in personal behavior.

Conclusions: The social and personal aims to accompany relief of epilepsy identified by patients are consistent with the literature on psychosocial adjustment to epilepsy.