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Hirotaka Hasegawa, Jamie J. Van Gompel, W. Richard Marsh, Robert E. Wharen Jr., Richard S. Zimmerman, David B. Burkholder, Brian N. Lundstrom, Jeffrey W. Britton, and Fredric B. Meyer

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a rare but significant complication after vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) placement. Treatment options range from antibiotic therapy alone to hardware removal. The optimal therapeutic strategy remains open to debate. Therefore, the authors conducted this retrospective multicenter analysis to provide insight into the optimal management of VNS-related SSI (VNS-SSI).

METHODS

Under institutional review board approval and utilizing an institutional database with 641 patients who had undergone 808 VNS-related placement surgeries and 31 patients who had undergone VNS-related hardware removal surgeries, the authors retrospectively analyzed VNS-SSI.

RESULTS

Sixteen cases of VNS-SSI were identified; 12 of them had undergone the original VNS placement procedure at the authors’ institutions. Thus, the incidence of VNS-SSI was calculated as 1.5%. The mean (± standard deviation) time from the most recent VNS-related surgeries to infection was 42 (± 27) days. Methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus was the usual causative bacteria (58%). Initial treatments included antibiotics with or without nonsurgical procedures (n = 6), nonremoval open surgeries for irrigation (n = 3), generator removal (n = 3), and total or near-total removal of hardware (n = 4). Although 2 patients were successfully treated with antibiotics alone or combined with generator removal, removal of both the generator and leads was eventually required in 14 patients. Mild swallowing difficulties and hoarseness occurred in 2 patients with eventual resolution.

CONCLUSIONS

Removal of the VNS including electrode leads combined with antibiotic administration is the definitive treatment but has a risk of causing dysphagia. If the surgeon finds dense scarring around the vagus nerve, the prudent approach is to snip the electrode close to the nerve as opposed to attempting to unwind the lead completely.

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Sanjeet S. Grewal, Mohammed Ali Alvi, William J. Perkins, Gregory D. Cascino, Jeffrey W. Britton, David B. Burkholder, Elson So, Cheolsu Shin, Richard W. Marsh, Fredric B. Meyer, Gregory A. Worrell, and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Almost 30% of the patients with suspected temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) have normal results on MRI. Success rates for resection of MRI-negative TLE are less favorable, ranging from 36% to 76%. Herein the authors describe the impact of intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG) augmented by opioid activation and its effect on postoperative seizure outcome.

METHODS

Adult and pediatric patients with medically resistant MRI-negative TLE who underwent standardized ECoG at the time of their elective anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) with amygdalohippocampectomy between 1990 and 2016 were included in this study. Seizure recurrence comprised the primary outcome of interest and was assessed using Kaplan-Meier and multivariable Cox regression analysis plots based on distribution of interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) recorded on scalp electroencephalography, baseline and opioid-induced IEDs on ECoG, and extent of resection.

RESULTS

Of the 1144 ATLs performed at the authors’ institution between 1990 and 2016, 127 (11.1%) patients (81 females) with MRI-negative TLE were eligible for this study. Patients with complete resection of tissue generating IED recorded on intraoperative ECoG were less likely to have seizure recurrence compared to those with incomplete resection on univariate analysis (p < 0.05). No difference was found in seizure recurrence between patients with bilateral independent IEDs and unilateral IEDs (p = 0.15), presence or absence of opioid-induced epileptiform activation (p = 0.61), or completeness of resection of tissue with opioid-induced IEDs on intraoperative ECoG (p = 0.41).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that incomplete resection of IED-generating tissue on intraoperative ECoG was associated with an increased chance of seizure recurrence. However, they found that induction of epileptiform activity with intraoperative opioid activation did not provide useful intraoperative data predictive of improving operative results for temporal lobectomy in MRI-negative epilepsy.