Resection and disconnection surgeries for epilepsy in the pediatric demographic (patients ≤ 18 years of age) are two separate, definitive intervention options in medically refractory cases. Questions remain regarding the role of surgery when seizures persist after an initial incomplete surgery. The aim of this study was to review the contemporary literature and summarize the metadata on the outcomes of repeat surgery in this specific demographic.
Searches of seven electronic databases from inception to July 2022 were conducted using PRISMA guidelines. Articles were screened using prespecified criteria. Metadata from the articles were abstracted and pooled by random-effects meta-analysis of proportions.
Eleven studies describing 12 cohorts satisfied all criteria, reporting outcomes of 170 pediatric patients with epilepsy who underwent repeat resection or disconnection surgery. Of these patients, 55% were male, and across all studies, median ages at initial and repeat surgeries were 7.2 and 9.4 years, respectively. The median follow-up duration after repeat surgery was 47.7 months. The most commonly reported etiology for epilepsy was cortical dysplasia. Overall, the estimated incidence of complete seizure freedom (Engel class I) following repeat surgery was 48% (95% CI 40%–56%, p value for heterogeneity = 0.93), and the estimated incidence of postoperative complications following repeat surgery was 25% (95% CI 12%–39%, p = 0.04). There were six cohorts each that described outcomes for repeat resection and repeat disconnection surgeries. There was no statistical difference between these two subgroups with respect to estimated incidence of complete seizure freedom (p value for interaction = 0.92), but postoperative complications were statistically more common following repeat resection (p ≤ 0.01).
For both resection and disconnection surgeries, repeat epilepsy surgery in children is likely to confer complete seizure freedom in approximately half of the patients who experience unsuccessful initial incomplete epilepsy surgery. More data are needed to elucidate the impact on efficacy based on surgical approach selection. Judicious discussion and planning between the patient, family, and a multidisciplinary team of epilepsy specialists is recommended to optimize expectations and outcomes in this setting.
Images from Chiang et al. (pp 595–601).