Purpose: Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission computed tomography (FDG-PET) hypometabolism is important for surgical planning in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), but its significance remains unclear in patients who do not have evidence of mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We examined surgical outcomes in a group of PET-positive, MRI-negative patients and compared them with those of patients with MTS.
Methods: We queried the Thomas Jefferson University Surgical Epilepsy Database for patients who underwent anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) from 1991 to 2009 and who had unilateral temporal PET hypometabolism without an epileptogenic lesion on MRI (PET+/MRI−). We compared this group to the group of patients who underwent ATL and who had MTS on MRI. Patients with discordant ictal electroencephalography (EEG) were excluded. Surgical outcomes were compared using percentages of Engel class I outcomes at 2 and 5 years as well as Kaplan-Meier survival statistic, with time to seizure recurrence as survival time. A subgroup of PET+/MRI− patients who underwent surgical implantation prior to resection was compared to PET+/MRI− patients who went directly to resection without implantation.
Key Findings: There were 46 PET+/MRI− patients (of whom 36 had 2-year surgical outcome available) and 147 MTS patients. There was no difference between the two groups with regard to history of febrile convulsions, generalized tonic–clonic seizures, interictal spikes, depression, or family history. Mean age at first seizure was higher in PET+/MRI− patients (19 ± 13 vs.14 ± 13 years, Mann-Whitney test, p = 0.008) and disease duration was shorter (14 ± 10 vs. 22 ± 13 years, student’s t-test, p = 0.0006). Class I surgical outcomes did not differ significantly between the PET+/MRI− patients and the MTS group (2 and 5 year outcomes were 76% and 75% for the PET+/MRI− group, and 71% and 78% for the MTS group); neither did outcomes of the PET+/MRI− patients who were implanted prior to resection versus those who went directly to surgery (implanted patients had 71% and 67% class I outcomes at 2 and 5 years, whereas. nonimplanted patients had 77% and 78% class I outcomes, p = 0.66 and 0.28). Kaplan-Meier survival statistics for both comparisons were nonsignificant at 5 years. Dentate gyrus and hilar cell counts obtained from pathology for a sample of patients also did not differ between groups.
Significance: PET-positive, MRI-negative TLE patients in our study had excellent surgical outcomes after ATL, very similar to those in patients with MTS, regardless of whether or not they undergo intracranial monitoring. These patients should be considered prime candidates for ATL, and intracranial monitoring is probably unnecessary in the absence of discordant data.