Surgical treatment of epilepsies: criteria for the selection of patients and results
Viteri C., Iriarte J., Schlumberger E., Manrique M.
Departamento de Neurología y Neurocirugía, Clínica Universitaria de la Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, España
Approximately 20% of all epileptic patients are not satisfactorily controlled by the available antiepileptic drugs. Some of these patients have epileptic syndromes which could potentially be treated by surgery.
The technological advances applied to diagnostic and therapeutic methods have improved the identification of epileptic patients who may benefit from surgery. Up to 80% of the patients with focal epilepsies symptomatic of well defined lesions may become free of seizures after excision of the lesion or epileptogenic focus. Other forms of epilepsy, such as the so-called catastrophic infantile forms, may improve temporarily when techniques such as hemispherectomy or callosotomy are used. The morbidity and mortality of these surgical procedures are minimal. The results depend on correct selection of the patients. A strict protocol for rigorous evaluation of the patients should be used, with the collaboration of neurologists, epileptologist neuropaediatricians, neuropsychologists, neurophysiologists, neuroimaging specialists, psychiatrists and neurosurgeons. There should first be clear answers to three key questions: 1. Who is a good candidate? 2. How should the selection be made? and 3. When is the best time for evaluation?
At present it seems clear that the surgery of epilepsy is used less than it could be. It is therefore necessary to encourage the development of specialist units to select patients and treat them, and to develop the means whereby patients can obtain this highly specialized attention.
CITATION Rev Neurol. 2000 Jun;30 Suppl 1:S141-53