Get access

Temporal lobe epilepsy: analysis of failures and the role of reoperation


Vicenta Salanova, Department of Neurology, Indiana University Medical Center, University Hospital, Room 1711, 550 University Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.
Tel.: +1 317 2744974
Fax: +1 317 2741472


Purpose – To analyze failures and reoperations in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), and compare these patients with those seizure-free, and to determine any significant differences between the groups.

Methods – A total of 262 patients with TLE, treated surgically between 1984 and 2002, were followed at 3, 6 and 12 months and yearly thereafter. Sixty-five percent became seizure-free (class I), 19% had rare seizures (class II), and 16% continued to have seizures (classes III and IV). Patients in classes III and IV underwent re-evaluation, and were compared with seizure-free patients.

Results – Analysis of failures (n = 41): 12% had febrile seizures (FS), 29% head trauma, 7% encephalitis, 52% abnormal imaging, 34% bitemporal spiking, and 20% posterior temporal localization. Post-surgical MRI (available in 30 of 41 patients) showed residual posterior mesial temporal structures (PMTS) in 86.6%, PMTS and posterior temporal lesions (PTLs) in 6.6%, and PTLs in another 6.6%. Twenty-one had reoperation, 14 had resection of the PMTS, five of the PMTS and basal posterior temporal cortex, and two of the PMTS, and PTLs. There was no surgical mortality or morbidity; 57% became seizure-free and 24% had rare seizures. Seizure-free patients (n = 170): 45% had FS, 12% head trauma and 70% abnormal imaging studies.

Conclusion – When compared with seizure-free patients, patients who failed TLE surgery were less likely to have a history of FS and abnormal imaging, and more likely to have a history of head trauma, encephalitis and posterior temporal localization, suggesting larger epileptogenic zones. Following reoperation, 57% became seizure-free. Predictors of a good outcome after reoperation were anterior temporal localization and abnormal imaging studies.