Hemimegalencephaly and intractable epilepsy: Benefits of hemispherectomy

F. Vigevano, E. Bertini, R. Boldrini, C. Bosman, D. Claps, M. Di Capua, C. Di Rocco, G. F. Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We observed 4 children with hemimegalencephaly, (3 boys, 1 girl aged 3-7 years). One child had a linear sebaceous nevus. All patients had a similar clinical, EEG, and neuroradiologic pattern. All patients had macrocrania, hemiparesis, hemianopsia, and psychomotor retardation of variable degree. All cases had an epileptic syndrome with onset during the first day or the first months of life. The seizures were consistently similar: partial motor seizures, generally hemiclonic and asymmetric brief tonic seizures, in series, involving predominantly one side of the body, contralateral to the cerebral damage. The EEG was initially characterized by a hemihypsarrhythmia and afterward, over the malformed hemisphere, by a rather high-frequency background activity associated with almost continuous transients of spikes, sharp waves, and spike and waves that progressively involved the contralateral hemisphere. Hemispherectomy was performed in two children with sudden and complete recovery from seizures and improvement in psychomotor development. Macroscopic examination was consistent with the computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showing pachygyria and poorly represented white matter. Histologic examination showed the characteristic absence of cortical neuronal layering, and the presence of giant neurons, neuronal heterotopias, and gliosis. For hemispherectomy to be successful, we believe prolonged EEG monitoring is needed to verify that no seizures are originating in the normal hemisphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-843
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • Child
  • Epilepsy
  • Hemimegalencephaly
  • Hemispherectomy
  • Infant
  • Linear sebaceous nevus
  • Neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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