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Radiofrequency ablation during stereoelectroencephalography: from diagnostic tool to therapeutic intervention. Illustrative case

Demitre Serletis, Juan Bulacio, Justin Bingaman, Elham Abushanab, Stephen P. Harasimchuk, Richard Rammo, Silvia Neme-Mercante, and William Bingaman


Radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC) during intracranial stereoelectroencephalography (sEEG) was first described as a safe technique for creating lesions of epileptic foci in 2004. Since that time, the method has been applied as a diagnostic and/or palliative intervention. Although widely practiced in European epilepsy surgical programs, the technique has not been popularized in the United States given the lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved technologies permitting safe usage of in situ sEEG electrodes for this purpose.


The authors present a case report of a young female patient with refractory left neocortical temporal lobe epilepsy undergoing sEEG electrode implantation, who underwent sEEG-guided RFTC via a stereotactic temperature-sensing pallidotomy probe. Although used as a diagnostic step in her workup, the patient has remained seizure-free for nearly 18 months.


The use of in situ sEEG electrodes for RFTC remains limited in the United States. In this context, this case highlights a safe alternative and temporizing approach to performing diagnostic sEEG-guided RFTC, using a temperature-sensing pallidotomy probe to create small, precise stereotactic lesions. The authors caution careful consideration of this technique as a temporary work-around solution while also highlighting the rising need for new FDA-approved technologies for safe RFTC through in situ temperature-sensing sEEG electrodes.