OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to evaluate clinical characteristics and outcome of hemispherotomy in children and adolescents with hemispheric refractory epilepsy in an Italian cohort of patients.
METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated the clinical course and outcome of 92 patients with refractory epilepsy who underwent hemispherotomy in three Italian epilepsy centers between 2006 and 2016. Three different approaches for hemispherotomy were used: parasagittal, modified parasagittal, and lateral.
RESULTS: Mean age at epilepsy onset was 1.8 ± 2.51 years, and mean duration of epilepsy prior to surgery was 7.4 ± 5.6 years. Mean age at surgery was 9.2 ± 8.0 years. After a mean follow-up of 2.81 ± 2.4 years, 66 of 90 patients (two lost from follow-up, 73.3%) were seizure-free (Engel class I). The etiology of epilepsy was related to acquired lesions (encephalomalacia or gliosis) in 44 patients (47.8%), congenital malformations (cortical dysplasia, hemimegalencephaly, other cortical malformations) in 38 (41.3%), and progressive conditions (Rasmussen or Sturge-Weber syndrome) in 10 patients (10.9%). Regarding seizure outcome, we could not identify statistically significant differences between vertical and lateral approaches (p = 0.154). Seizure outcome was not statistically different in patients with congenital vs acquired or progressive etiologies (p = 0.43). Acute postoperative seizures (APOS) correlated with poor outcome (p < 0.05). On multivariate analysis, presurgical focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures (Odds Ratio (OR) = 3.63, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.86-15.20, p = 0.048) independently predicted seizure recurrence. Twenty-one patients (22.8%) exhibited postoperative complications, with no unexpected and persistent neurological deficit. More than 50% of the patients completely tapered drugs.
SIGNIFICANCE: Our data confirm hemispherotomy to be a safe and effective procedure in patients with drug resistant epilepsies due to hemispheric lesions. Presurgical focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures are the strongest predictor of seizure recurrence after surgery, independently from the type of hemispherotomy.