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Jeffrey Z. Nie, Constantine L. Karras, S. Joy Trybula, Pavlos Texakalidis, and Tord D. Alden


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant, multisystem neurocutaneous disorder associated with cortical tubers, brain lesions seen in nearly all patients with TSC, which are frequently epileptogenic. Seizures are often the earliest clinical manifestation of TSC, leading to epilepsy in over 70% of patients. Medical management with antiepileptic drugs constitutes early therapy, but over 50% develop medically refractory epilepsy, necessitating surgical evaluation and treatment. The objective of this study was to summarize the literature and report seizure outcomes following surgical treatment for TSC-associated epilepsy.


A systematic literature review was performed in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. The PubMed and Embase databases were searched for journal articles reporting seizure outcomes following epilepsy surgery in TSC patients. Included studies were placed into one of two groups based on the surgical technique used. Excellent and worthwhile seizure reductions were defined for each group as outcomes and extracted from each study.


A total of 46 studies were included. Forty of these studies reported seizure outcomes following any combination of resection, disconnection, and ablation on a collective 1157 patients. Excellent and worthwhile seizure reductions were achieved in 59% (683/1157) and 85% (450/528) of patients, respectively. Six of these studies reported seizure outcomes following treatment with neuromodulation. Excellent and worthwhile seizure reductions were achieved in 34% (24/70) and 76% (53/70) of patients, respectively.


Surgery effectively controls seizures in select patients with TSC-associated epilepsy, but outcomes vary. Further understanding of TSC-associated epilepsy, improving localization strategies, and emerging surgical techniques represent promising avenues for improving surgical outcomes.