✓ Residual seizures after functional hemispherectomy occur in approximately 20% of patients with catastrophic epilepsy. These episodes are traditionally attributed to incomplete disconnection, persistent epileptogenic activity in the ipsilateral insular cortex, or bilateral independent epileptogenic activity. The authors report on the case of an 8-year-old boy with an intractable seizure disorder who had classic frontal adversive seizures related to extensive unilateral left hemispheric cortical dysplasia. The initial intervention consisted of extensive removal of the epileptic frontal and precentral dysplastic tissue and multiple subpial transections of the dysplastic motor strip, guided by intraoperative electrocorticography. Subsequently, functional hemispherectomy including insular cortex resection was performed for persistent attacks. After a seizure-free period of 6 months, a new pattern ensued, consisting of an aura of fear, dystonic posturing of the right arm, and unusual postictal hyperphagia coupled with an interictal diencephalic-like syndrome. Electroencephalography and ictal/interictal single-photon emission computerized tomography were used to localize the residual epileptic discharges to deep ipsilateral structures. Results of magnetic resonance imaging indicated a complete disconnection except for a strip of residual frontobasal tissue. Therefore, a volumetric resection of the epileptogenic frontal basal tissue up to the anterior commissure was completed. The child has remained free of seizures during 21 months of follow-up review.
Standard hemispherectomy methods provide extensive disconnection, despite the presence of residual frontal basal cortex. However, rarely, and especially if it is dysplastic, this tissue can represent a focus for refractory seizures. This is an important consideration in determining the source of ongoing seizures posthemispherectomy in patients with extensive cortical dysplasia. It remains important to assess them fully before considering their disease refractory to surgical treatment.