Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Factors Associated With Failed Focal Neocortical Epilepsy Surgery



Seizure outcomes after focal neocortical epilepsy (FNE) surgery are less favorable than after temporal lobectomy, and the reasons for surgical failure are incompletely understood. Few groups have performed an in-depth examination of seizure recurrences to identify possible reasons for failure.


To elucidate factors contributing to FNE surgery failures.


We reviewed resections for drug-resistant FNE performed at our institution between 1998 and 2011. We performed a quantitative analysis of seizure outcome predictors and a detailed qualitative review of failed surgical cases.


Of 138 resections in 125 FNE patients, 91 (66%) resulted in freedom from disabling seizures (Engel I outcome). Mean ± SEM patient age was 20.0 ± 1.2 years; mean follow-up was 3.8 years (range, 1-17 years); and 57% of patients were male. Less favorable (Engel II-IV) seizure outcome was predicted by higher preoperative seizure frequency (odds ratio = 0.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.78-0.93), a history of generalized tonic-clonic seizures (odds ratio = 0.42; 95% confidence interval, 0.18-0.97), and normal magnetic resonance imaging (odds ratio = 0.30; 95% confidence interval, 0.09-1.02). Among 36 surgical failures examined, 26 (72%) were related to extent of resection, with residual epileptic focus at the resection margins, whereas 10 (28%) involved location of resection, with an additional epileptogenic zone distant from the resection. Of 16 patients who received reoperation after seizure recurrence, 10 (63%) achieved seizure freedom.


Insufficient extent of resection is the most common reason for recurrent seizures after FNE surgery, although some patients harbor a remote epileptic focus. Many patients with incomplete seizure control are candidates for reoperation.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View