Functional hemispherectomy is safe and effective in adult patients with epilepsy

Publication date: December 2017Source:Epilepsy & Behavior, Volume 77
Author(s): Barbara Schmeiser, Josef Zentner, Bernhard Jochen Steinhoff, Andreas Schulze-Bonhage, Evangelos Kogias, Anne-Sophie Wendling, Thilo Hammen
IntroductionFunctional hemispherectomy (FH) is a well-established therapeutic option for children with epilepsy with parenchymal damage confined to one hemisphere, yet its application in adults remains rare. The intention of our study was to investigate postoperative clinical and epileptological outcome in adults who received FH for intractable epilepsy.Materials and methodsWe retrospectively analyzed 12 adult patients (18–56years) with intractable epilepsy due to unihemispheric pathology. All patients underwent FH. Postoperative neurological and cognitive outcome as well as seizure status were evaluated with a mean follow-up period of 4.9years.ResultsTen patients (83%) were seizure-free (Engel I), and two (17%) had recurrent seizures at last follow-up. Apart from one patient requiring operative revision for bone flap infection, no perioperative morbidity or mortality occurred. Postoperative functional assessment revealed deterioration of motor function in 7 patients, whereas 5 remained unchanged. Language was unchanged in 8 patients. The absence of background slowing in preoperative electroencephalogram (EEG) as well as ictal and interictal EEG patterns located ipsilateral to the side of surgery was associated with favorable seizure outcome.ConclusionFavorable seizure control and acceptable functional outcome can be achieved by FH in adults with intractable epilepsy. The risk of postoperative deficits is moderate and even older patients are able to manage postoperative motor impairment. Therefore, FH should be considered in case of unihemispheric lesions also in adults.