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Determining Surgical Candidacy in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy


Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common form of adult epilepsy that is amenable to surgical treatment. In the carefully selected patient, excellent seizure outcome can be achieved with minimal or no side effects from surgery. This may result in improved psychosocial functioning, achieving higher education, and maintaining or gaining employment. The objective of this paper is to discuss the surgical selection process of a patient with TLE. We define what constitutes a patient that has medically refractory TLE, describe the typical history and physical examination, and distinguish between mesial TLE and neocortical TLE. We then review the role of routine (ambulatory/sleep-deprived electroencephalography (EEG), video EEG, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), neuropsychological testing, and Wada testing) and ancillary preoperative testing (positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), subtraction ictal SPECT correlated to MRI (SISCOM), magnetoencephalography, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and functional MRI) in selecting surgical candidates. We describe the surgical options for resective epilepsy surgery in TLE and its commonly associated risks while highlighting some of the controversies. Lastly, we present teaching cases to illustrate the presurgical workup of patients with medically refractory TLE.

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