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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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Nicholas M. Wetjen, W. Richard Marsh, Fredric B. Meyer, Gregory D. Cascino, Elson So, Jeffrey W. Britton, S. Matthew Stead, and Gregory A. Worrell

Object

Patients with normal MR imaging (nonlesional) findings and medically refractory extratemporal epilepsy make up a disproportionate number of nonexcellent outcomes after epilepsy surgery. In this paper, the authors investigated the usefulness of intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) in the identification of surgical candidates.

Methods

Between 1992 and 2002, 51 consecutive patients with normal MR imaging findings and extratemporal epilepsy underwent intracranial electrode monitoring. The implantation of intracranial electrodes was determined by seizure semiology, interictal and ictal scalp EEG, SPECT, and in some patients PET studies. The demographics of patients at the time of surgery, lobar localization of electrode implantation, duration of follow-up, and Engel outcome score were abstracted from the Mayo Rochester Epilepsy Surgery Database. A blinded independent review of the iEEG records was conducted for this study.

Results

Thirty-one (61%) of the 51 patients who underwent iEEG ultimately underwent resection for their epilepsy. For 28 (90.3%) of the 31 patients who had epilepsy surgery, adequate information regarding follow-up (> 1 year), seizure frequency, and iEEG recordings was available. Twenty-six (92.9%) of 28 patients had frontal lobe resections, and 2 had parietal lobe resections. The most common iEEG pattern at seizure onset in the surgically treated group was a focal high-frequency discharge (in 15 [53.6%] of 28 patients). Ten (35.7%) of the 28 surgically treated patients were seizure free. Fourteen (50%) had Engel Class I outcomes, and overall, 17 (60.7%) had significant improvement (Engel Class I and IIAB with ≥80% seizure reduction). Focal high-frequency oscillation at seizure onset was associated with Engel Class I surgical outcome (12 [85.7%] of 14 patients, p = 0.02), and it was uncommon in the nonexcellent outcome group (3 [21.4%] of 14 patients).

Conclusions

A focal high-frequency oscillation (> 20 Hz) at seizure onset on iEEG may identify patients with nonlesional extratemporal epilepsy who are likely to have an Engel Class I outcome after epilepsy surgery. The prospect of excellent outcome in nonlesional extratemporal lobe epilepsy prior to intracranial monitoring is poor (14 [27.5%] of 51 patients). However, iEEG can further stratify patients and help identify those with a greater likelihood of Engel Class I outcome after surgery.

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Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Brian G. Wilhelmi, Frederic Collignon, J. Bradley White, Jeffrey W. Britton, Denise M. Cambier, Teresa J. H. Christianson, W. Richard Marsh, Fredric B. Meyer, and Gregory D. Cascino

Object

The authors reviewed the long-term outcome of focal resection in a large group of patients who had intractable partial nonlesional epilepsy, including mesial temporal lobe sclerosis (MTS), and who were treated consecutively at a single institution. The goal of this study was to evaluate the long-term efficacy of epilepsy surgery and the preoperative factors associated with seizure outcome.

Methods

This retrospective analysis included 399 consecutive patients who underwent epilepsy surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, between 1988 and 1996. The mean age of the patients at surgery was 32 ± 12 years (range 3–69 years), and the mean age at seizure onset was 12 ± 11 years (range 0–55 years). There were 214 female (54%) and 185 male (46%) patients. The mean duration of epilepsy was 20 ±12 years (range 1–56 years). The preceding values are given as the mean ± standard deviation.

Of the 399 patients, 237 (59%) had a history of complex partial seizures, 119 (30%) had generalized seizures, 26 (6%) had simple partial seizures, and 17 (4%) had experienced a combination of these. Preoperative evaluation included a routine and video-electroencephalography recordings, magnetic resonance imaging of the head according to the seizure protocol, neuropsychological testing, and a sodium amobarbital study. Patients with an undefined epileptogenic focus and discordant preoperative studies underwent an intracranial study. The mean duration of follow up was 6.2 ± 4.5 years (range 0.6–15.7 years). Seizure outcome was categorized based on the modified Engel classification. Time-to-event analysis was performed using Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox regression models to evaluate the risk factors associated with outcomes.

Among these patients, 372 (93%) underwent temporal and 27 (7%) had extratemporal resection of their epileptogenic focus. Histopathological examination of the resected specimens revealed MTS in 113 patients (28%), gliosis in 237 (59%), and normal findings in 49 (12%). Based on the Kaplan–Meier analysis, the probability of an Engel Class I outcome (seizure free, auras, or seizures related only to medication withdrawal) for the overall patient group was 81% (95% confidence interval [CI] 77–85%) at 6 months, 78% (CI 74–82%) at 1 year, 76% (CI 72–80%) at 2 years, 74% (CI 69–78%) at 5 years, and 72% (CI 67–77%) at 10 years postoperatively. The rate of Class I outcomes remained 72% for 73 patients with more than 10 years of follow up. If a patient was in Class I at 1 year postoperatively, the probability of seizure remission at 10 years postoperatively was 92% (95% CI 89–96%); almost all seizures occurred during the 1st year after surgery. Factors predictive of poor outcome from surgery were normal pathological findings in resected tissue (p = 0.038), male sex (p = 0.035), previous surgery (p < 0.001), and an extratemporal origin of seizures (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

The response to epilepsy surgery during the 1st follow-up year is a reliable indicator of the long-term Engel Class I postoperative outcome. This finding may have important implications for patient counseling and postoperative discontinuation of anticonvulsant medications.