Microsurgical resection of supratentorial cavernomas associated with intractable epilepsy is performed frequently. Despite its common occurrence, little is known about patient perceptions of microsurgical resection for cavernomas. This survey study was performed to investigate patient perceived outcome after surgery for cavernomas associated with intractable epilepsy.
The authors' surgical database was searched for cavernoma resection performed between 1971 and July of 2006. Of the initial 173 patients identified, 102 met criteria for medically intractable seizures. These 102 patients were then mailed a survey to determine follow-up and patient satisfaction. Thirty-nine surveys were returned as undeliverable, and 30 (48%) of the remaining 63 patients responded.
The average age at surgery for patients responding to this survey was 40 ± 16 years compared with 35 ± 15 years for all 102 patients. At prolonged follow-up, 87% of patients reported being seizure-free. Of those with seizures, 2 (7%) reported being nearly seizure-free (rare disabling seizures), 2 (7%) believed they had a worthwhile improvement in seizure frequency, and no patient (0%) in this series believed they did not have a worthwhile improvement in seizure frequency. Ninety percent of responders stated they definitely, and 10% probably, would have surgery again. No patient responded that they probably or definitely would not have epilepsy surgery. Mean clinical follow-up was 36 ± 8 months and survey follow-up was 97 ± 13 months for these 30 patients. Use of the mail-in survey increased follow-up length 2.7 times longer compared with clinical follow-up.
It is clear from this select group of survey responders that patients undergoing surgery for cavernomas associated with medically intractable epilepsy are happy they underwent surgery (100%) and had excellent surgical outcomes (87% seizure-free) at prolonged follow-up of 97 ± 13 months. These survey results support that microsurgical resection for cavernomas is highly effective and significantly improves these patients' quality of life.