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Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Brian N. Lundstrom, Fredric B. Meyer, Gregory A. Worrell, and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Epilepsy originating from the central lobule (i.e., the primary sensorimotor cortex) is a challenging entity to treat given its involvement of eloquent cortex. The objective of this study was to review available evidence on treatment options for central lobule epilepsy.

METHODS

A comprehensive literature search (PubMed/Medline, EMBASE, and Scopus) was conducted for studies (1990 to date) investigating postoperative outcomes for central lobule epilepsy. The primary and secondary endpoints were seizure freedom at last follow-up and postoperative neurological deficit, respectively. The following procedures were included: open resection, multiple subpial transections (MSTs), laser and radiofrequency ablation, deep brain stimulation (DBS), responsive neurostimulation (RNS), and continuous subthreshold cortical stimulation (CSCS).

RESULTS

A total of 52 studies and 504 patients were analyzed. Most evidence was based on open resection, yielding a total of 400 patients (24 studies), of whom 62% achieved seizure freedom at a mean follow-up of 48 months. A new or worsened motor deficit occurred in 44% (permanent in 19%). Forty-six patients underwent MSTs, of whom 16% achieved seizure freedom and 30% had a neurological deficit (permanent in 12%). There were 6 laser ablation cases (cavernomas in 50%) with seizure freedom in 4 patients and 1 patient with temporary motor deficit. There were 5 radiofrequency ablation cases, with 1 patient achieving seizure freedom, 2 patients each with Engel class III and IV outcomes, and 2 patients with motor deficit. The mean seizure frequency reduction at the last follow-up was 79% for RNS (28 patients), 90% for CSCS (15 patients), and 73% for DBS (4 patients). There were no cases of temporary or permanent neurological deficit in the CSCS or DBS group.

CONCLUSIONS

This review highlights the safety and efficacy profile of resection, ablation, and stimulation for refractory central lobe epilepsy. Resection of localized regions of epilepsy onset zones results in good rates of seizure freedom (62%); however, nearly 20% of patients had permanent motor deficits. The authors hope that this review will be useful to providers and patients when tailoring decision-making for this intricate pathology.

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Erik H. Middlebrooks, Sanjeet S. Grewal, Matthew Stead, Brian N. Lundstrom, Gregory A. Worrell, and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT) is a promising therapy for refractory epilepsy. Unfortunately, the variability in outcomes from ANT DBS is not fully understood. In this pilot study, the authors assess potential differences in functional connectivity related to the volume of tissue activated (VTA) in ANT DBS responders and nonresponders as a means for better understanding the mechanism of action and potentially improving DBS targeting.

METHODS

This retrospective analysis consisted of 6 patients who underwent ANT DBS for refractory epilepsy. Patients were classified as responders (n = 3) if their seizure frequency decreased by at least 50%. The DBS electrodes were localized postoperatively and VTAs were computationally generated based on DBS programming settings. VTAs were used as seed points for resting-state functional MRI connectivity analysis performed using a control dataset. Differences in cortical connectivity to the VTA were assessed between the responder and nonresponder groups.

RESULTS

The ANT DBS responders showed greater positive connectivity with the default mode network compared to nonresponders, including the posterior cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, inferior parietal lobule, and precuneus. Interestingly, there was also a consistent anticorrelation with the hippocampus seen in responders that was not present in nonresponders.

CONCLUSIONS

Based on their pilot study, the authors observed that successful ANT DBS in patients with epilepsy produces increased connectivity in the default mode network, which the authors hypothesize increases the threshold for seizure propagation. Additionally, an inhibitory effect on the hippocampus mediated through increased hippocampal γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) concentration may contribute to seizure suppression. Future studies are planned to confirm these findings.

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Sanjeet S. Grewal, Erik H. Middlebrooks, Timothy J. Kaufmann, Matthew Stead, Brian N. Lundstrom, Gregory A. Worrell, Chen Lin, Serhat Baydin, and Jamie J. Van Gompel

When medically intractable epilepsy is multifocal or focal but poorly localized, neuromodulation can be useful therapy. One such technique is deep brain stimulation (DBS) targeting the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT). Unfortunately, the ANT is difficult to visualize in standard MRI sequences and its indirect targeting is difficult because of thalamic variability and atrophy in patients with epilepsy. The following study describes the novel use of the fast gray matter acquisition T1 inversion recovery (FGATIR) MRI sequence to delineate the mammillothalamic tract for direct targeting of the ANT through visualizing the termination of the mammillothalamic tract in the ANT.

The day prior to surgery in a 19-year-old, right-handed woman with a 5-year history of epilepsy, MRI was performed on a 3-T Siemens Prisma scanner (Siemens AG, Healthcare Sector) using a 64-channel head and neck coil. As part of the imaging protocol, noncontrast magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo (MP-RAGE) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) sequences were obtained for targeting purposes. The ANT was directly targeted using the FGATIR sequence, and bilateral Medtronic 3389 leads were placed. At the last follow-up (2 months), the patient reported an approximate 75% decrease in seizure frequency, as well as a decrease in seizure severity.

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Hirotaka Hasegawa, Jamie J. Van Gompel, W. Richard Marsh, Robert E. Wharen Jr., Richard S. Zimmerman, David B. Burkholder, Brian N. Lundstrom, Jeffrey W. Britton, and Fredric B. Meyer

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a rare but significant complication after vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) placement. Treatment options range from antibiotic therapy alone to hardware removal. The optimal therapeutic strategy remains open to debate. Therefore, the authors conducted this retrospective multicenter analysis to provide insight into the optimal management of VNS-related SSI (VNS-SSI).

METHODS

Under institutional review board approval and utilizing an institutional database with 641 patients who had undergone 808 VNS-related placement surgeries and 31 patients who had undergone VNS-related hardware removal surgeries, the authors retrospectively analyzed VNS-SSI.

RESULTS

Sixteen cases of VNS-SSI were identified; 12 of them had undergone the original VNS placement procedure at the authors’ institutions. Thus, the incidence of VNS-SSI was calculated as 1.5%. The mean (± standard deviation) time from the most recent VNS-related surgeries to infection was 42 (± 27) days. Methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus was the usual causative bacteria (58%). Initial treatments included antibiotics with or without nonsurgical procedures (n = 6), nonremoval open surgeries for irrigation (n = 3), generator removal (n = 3), and total or near-total removal of hardware (n = 4). Although 2 patients were successfully treated with antibiotics alone or combined with generator removal, removal of both the generator and leads was eventually required in 14 patients. Mild swallowing difficulties and hoarseness occurred in 2 patients with eventual resolution.

CONCLUSIONS

Removal of the VNS including electrode leads combined with antibiotic administration is the definitive treatment but has a risk of causing dysphagia. If the surgeon finds dense scarring around the vagus nerve, the prudent approach is to snip the electrode close to the nerve as opposed to attempting to unwind the lead completely.