Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) is a noninvasive technique often used for localization of the functional motor cortex via induction of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) in neurosurgical patients. There has, however, been no published record of its application in pediatric epilepsy surgery. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the feasibility of nTMS-based motor mapping in the preoperative diagnostic workup within a population of children with medically refractory epilepsy.
A single-institution database was screened for preoperative nTMS motor mappings obtained in pediatric patients (aged 0 to 18 years, 2012 to present) with medically refractory epilepsy. Patient clinical data, demographic information, and mapping results were extracted and used in statistical analyses.
Sixteen patients met the inclusion criteria, 15 of whom underwent resection. The median age was 9 years (range 0–17 years). No adverse effects were recorded during mapping. Specifically, no epileptic seizures were provoked via nTMS. Recordings of valid MEPs induced by nTMS were obtained in 10 patients. In the remaining patients, no MEPs could be elicited. Failure to generate MEPs was associated significantly with younger patient age (r = 0.8020, p = 0.0001863). The most frequent seizure control outcome was Engel Epilepsy Surgery Outcome Scale class I (9 patients).
Navigated TMS is a feasible, effective, and well-tolerated method for mapping the motor cortex of the upper and lower extremities in pediatric patients with epilepsy. Patient age modulates elicitability of MEPs, potentially reflecting various stages of myelination. Successful motor mapping has the potential to add to the existing presurgical diagnostic workup in this population, and further research is warranted.