In this paper the authors aimed to provide information related to major and minor surgical and neurological complications encountered following stereoelectroencephalography and epilepsy surgery.
The authors performed a retrospective review of 491 and 1905 patients who underwent intracranial electrode implantation and epilepsy surgery, respectively, between 1976 and 2006 at the Montreal Neurological Institute. All intracranial electrode implantations and surgical procedures were performed by 1 surgeon (A.O.).
A total of 6415 electrode implantations and 2449 surgical procedures were done. There were no deaths related to either procedure. There were no major complications after intracranial electrode implantation, and the risks of infection and intracranial hematoma were found to be 1.8 and 0.8%, respectively. The number of electrodes per lobe (p = 0.05) and number of lobes covered (p = 0.04) were significant risk factors for hematoma and infection. Regarding epilepsy surgery, there were no major surgical complications, and the overall minor complication rate was 2.9%. Infection was the most common complication (1.0%), followed by intracranial hematoma (0.7%). Significant risk factors associated with hematomas and infections were the number of reoperations (p = 0.001) and older patient age (p = 0.03). Minor and major neurological complication rates were 2.7 and 0.5%, respectively, and the rate of overall neurological morbidity was 3.3%. Hemiparesis was the most frequent neurological complication (1.5%).
Based on the authors' experience, intracranial electrode implantation is an effective method with an extremely low morbidity rate. Moreover, epilepsy surgery is safe, especially in experienced hands.