• Hemispheric disease;
  • Refractory epilepsy;
  • Peri-insular hemispherotomy;
  • Hemidecortication;
  • Postoperative complications;
  • Blood loss;
  • Seizure outcome;
  • Adaptive function;
  • SIB-R;

Summary: Purpose: To describe seizure control, complications, adaptive function and language skills following hemispheric surgery for epilepsy.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of patients who underwent hemispheric surgery from July 1993 to June 2004 with a minimum follow-up of 12 months.

Results: The study population comprised 24 children, median age at seizure onset six months and median age at surgery 41 months. Etiology included malformations of cortical development (7), infarction (7), Sturge-Weber Syndrome (6), and Rasmussen's encephalitis (4). The most frequent complication was intraoperative bleeding (17 transfused). Age <2 yr, weight <11 kg, and hemidecortication were risk factors for transfusion. Postoperative complications included aseptic meningitis (6), and hydrocephalus (3). At median follow-up of 7 yr, 79% of patients are seizure free. Children with malformations of cortical development and Rasmussen's encephalitis were more likely to have ongoing seizures. Overall adaptive function scores were low, but relative strengths in verbal abilities were observed. Shorter duration of epilepsy prior to surgery was related significantly to better adaptive functioning.

Conclusions: Hemispheric surgery is an effective therapy for refractory epilepsy in children. The most common complication was bleeding. Duration of epilepsy prior to surgery is an important factor in determining adaptive outcome.