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M. Scott Perry, David J. Donahue, Saleem I. Malik, Cynthia G. Keator, Angel Hernandez, Rohit K. Reddy, Freedom F. Perkins Jr., Mark R. Lee and Dave F. Clarke


Seizure onset within the insula is increasingly recognized as a cause of intractable epilepsy. Surgery within the insula is difficult, with considerable risks, given the rich vascular supply and location near critical cortex. MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (LiTT) provides an attractive treatment option for insular epilepsy, allowing direct ablation of abnormal tissue while sparing nearby normal cortex. Herein, the authors describe their experience using this technique in a large cohort of children undergoing treatment of intractable localization-related epilepsy of insular onset.


The combined epilepsy surgery database of Cook Children’s Medical Center and Dell Children’s Hospital was queried for all cases of insular onset epilepsy treated with LiTT. Patients without at least 6 months of follow-up data and cases preoperatively designated as palliative were excluded. Patient demographics, presurgical evaluation, surgical plan, and outcome were collected from patient charts and described.


Twenty patients (mean age 12.8 years, range 6.1–18.6 years) underwent a total of 24 LiTT procedures; 70% of these patients had normal findings on MRI. Patients underwent a mean follow-up of 20.4 months after their last surgery (range 7–39 months), with 10 (50%) in Engel Class I, 1 (5%) in Engel Class II, 5 (25%) in Engel Class III, and 4 (20%) in Engel Class IV at last follow-up. Patients were discharged within 24 hours of the procedure in 15 (63%) cases, in 48 hours in 6 (24%) cases, and in more than 48 hours in the remaining cases. Adverse functional effects were experienced following 7 (29%) of the procedures: mild hemiparesis after 6 procedures (all patients experienced complete resolution or had minimal residual dysfunction by 6 months), and expressive language dysfunction after 1 procedure (resolved by 3 months).


To their knowledge, the authors present the largest cohort of pediatric patients undergoing insular surgery for treatment of intractable epilepsy. The patient outcomes suggest that LiTT can successfully treat intractable seizures originating within the insula and offers an attractive alternative to open resection. This is the first description of LiTT applied to insular epilepsy and represents one of only a few series describing the use of LiTT in children. The results indicate that seizure reduction after LiTT compares favorably to that after conventional open surgical techniques.

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Mark Van Poppel, James W. Wheless, Dave F. Clarke, Amy McGregor, Mark H. McManis, Freedom F. Perkins Jr., Katherine Van Poppel, Stephen Fulton and Frederick A. Boop


Functional mapping is important for determining surgical candidacy and also in epilepsy surgery planning. However, in young children and uncooperative patients, language mapping has been particularly challenging despite the advances in performing noninvasive functional studies. In this study the authors review a series of children with epilepsy who underwent language mapping with magnetoencephalography (MEG) while sedated or sleeping, to determine receptive language localization for presurgical evaluation.


The authors undertook a retrospective review of patients who underwent MEG between December 2007 and July 2009, and identified 15 individuals who underwent passive language testing as part of their presurgical evaluation because they were unable to participate in traditional language testing, such as Wada or functional MRI. Factors necessitating passive language testing included age and neurocognitive development.


Three of the 15 patients were deemed candidates for epilepsy surgery based on the results from standard preoperative testing, including video electroencephalography, MRI, and passive receptive language testing using MEG technology. The MEG studies were used successfully to localize language in all 3 patients, creating opportunities for seizure freedom through surgery that would not otherwise have been available. All 3 patients then underwent resective epilepsy surgery without experiencing postoperative language deficits.


This case series is the first to look at language mapping during sleep (passive language mapping) in which MEG was used and is the first to evaluate passive language testing in a patient population with intracranial pathological entities. This case series demonstrates that MEG can provide an alternative method for receptive language localization in patients with barriers to more traditional language testing, and in these 3 cases surgery was performed safely based on the results.