Object. Surgical treatment options for intractable seizures caused by a nonlesional epileptogenic focus located in the central sulcus region are limited. The authors describe an alternative surgical approach for treating medically refractory nonlesional perirolandic epilepsy.
Methods. Five consecutive patients who were treated between 1996 and 2000 for nonlesional partial epilepsy that had originated in the central lobule were studied. The patients' ages ranged from 16 to 56 years (mean 28.6 years; there were four men and one woman). The duration of their epilepsy ranged from 8 to 39 years (mean 20.2 years), with a mean seizure frequency of 19 partial seizures per week. Preoperative assessment included video electroencephalography (EEG) and subtracted ictal—interictal single-photon emission computerized tomography coregistered with magnetic resonance imaging (SISCOM). Patients underwent an awake craniotomy stereotactically guided by the ictal EEG and SISCOM studies. Cortical stimulation was used to identify the sensorimotor cortex and to reproduce the patient's aura. A subdural grid was then implanted based on these results. Subsequent postoperative ictal electrocorticographic recordings and cortical stimulation further delineated the site of seizure onset and functional anatomy. During a second awake craniotomy, a limited resection of the epileptogenic central lobule region was performed while function was continuously monitored intraoperatively. One resection was limited to the precentral gyrus, two to the postcentral gyrus, and in two the excisions involved regions of both the pre- and postcentral gyri.
In three patients a hemiparesis occurred postsurgery but later resolved. In the four patients whose resection involved the postcentral gyrus, transient cortical sensory loss and apraxia occurred, which completely resolved in three. Two patients are completely seizure free, two have experienced occasional nondisabling seizures, and one patient has benefited from a more than 75% reduction in seizure frequency. The follow-up period ranged from 2 to 5.5 years (mean 3.5 years).
Conclusions. A limited resection of the sensorimotor cortex may be performed with acceptable neurological morbidity in patients with medically refractory perirolandic epilepsy. This procedure is an alternative to multiple subpial transections in the surgical management of intractable nonlesional epilepsy originating from the sensorimotor cortex.