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.
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).
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.
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.