The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a modified surgical approach for the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy secondary to hippocampal sclerosis (HS). This modified approach, called temporopolar amygdalohippocampectomy (TP-AH), includes a transsylvian resection of the temporal pole and subsequent amygdalohippocampectomy utilizing the limen insula as an anatomical landmark.
A total of 61 patients who were diagnosed with HS and underwent TP-AH between 2013 and 2017 were enrolled. Patients performed pre- and postoperative diffusion tensor imaging and were classified according to Engel’s scale for seizure control. To evaluate the functional preservation of the temporal stem white-matter fiber tracts, the authors analyzed postoperative Humphrey perimetries and pre- and postoperative neurocognitive performance (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test [RAVLT], Weschler Memory Scale–Revised [WMS-R], intelligence quotient [IQ], Boston Naming Test [BNT], and semantic and phonemic fluency). Demographic data and surgical complications were also recorded and described.
After a median follow-up of 36 ± 16 months, 46 patients (75.4%) achieved Engel class I, of whom 37 (60.6%) were Engel class IA. No significant changes in either the inferior frontooccipital fasciculus and optic radiation tractography were observed postoperatively for both left- and right-side surgeries. Reliable perimetry was obtained in 40 patients (65.6%), of whom 27 (67.5%) did not present any visual field defects (VFDs) attributable to surgery, while 12 patients (30%) presented with quadrant VFD, and 1 patient (2.5%) presented with hemifield VFD. Despite a significant decline in verbal memory (p = 0.007 for WMS-R, p = 0.02 for RAVLT recognition), there were significant improvements in both IQ (p < 0.001) and visual memory (p = 0.007). Semantic and phonemic fluency, and scores on the BNT, did not change postoperatively.
TP-AH provided seizure control similar to historical temporal lobe approaches, with a tendency to preserve the temporal stem and a satisfactory incidence of VFD. Despite a significant decline in verbal memory, there were significant improvements in both IQ and visual memory, along with preservation of executive function. This approach can be considered a natural evolution of the selective transsylvian approach.