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Hemispherotomy and other disconnective techniques

Sandrine De Ribaupierre and Olivier Delalande

The surgical treatment of intractable epilepsy has evolved as new technical innovations have been made. Hemispherotomy techniques have been developed to replace hemispherectomy in order to reduce the complication rates while maintaining good seizure control.

Disconnective procedures are based on the interruption of the epileptic network rather than the removal of the epileptogenic zone. They can be applied to hemispheric pathologies, leading to hemispherotomy, but they can also be applied to posterior quadrant epilepsies, or hypothalamic hamartomas.

In this paper, the authors review the literature, present an overview of the historical background, and discuss the different techniques along with their outcomes and complications.

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Endoscopic disconnection of hypothalamic hamartomas: safety and feasibility of robot-assisted, thulium laser–based procedures

Technical note

Amedeo Calisto, Georg Dorfmüller, Martine Fohlen, Christine Bulteau, Alfredo Conti, and Olivier Delalande


Hypothalamic hamartomas (HH) may induce drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE), thereby requiring surgical treatment. Conventionally, treatment is aimed at removing the lesion, but a disconnection procedure has been shown to be safer and at least as effective. The thulium laser (Revolix) has been recently introduced in urological endoscopy because of its ability to deliver a smooth cut with good control of the extent of tissue damage. The authors sought to analyze the safety and efficacy of the thulium 2-μm laser applied through navigated, robot-assisted endoscopy in disconnection surgery for HHs.


Twenty patients with HH who were drug resistant were treated during a 12-month period. Conventional disconnection by monopolar coagulation (endoscopic electrode) was performed in 13 patients, and thulium laser disconnection was performed in the remaining 7 patients. The endoscope was inserted into the ventricle contralateral to the attachment of the HH on the third ventricular wall. Results in terms of safety, efficacy, and ease of use of the instrument were analyzed.


All 20 patients achieved a satisfactory postoperative Engel score (Classes I–III). At 12 months, the Engel class was I or II in 8 of 13 patients (61.5%) who underwent monopolar coagulation and in 6 of 7 patients (85.7%) who underwent laser disconnection (p = 0.04). Seven of 13 patients (53.8%) who underwent monopolar coagulator disconnection and 2 of 7 patients (28.6%) who underwent laser disconnection had immediate postoperative complications. At the 3-month follow-up, only 2 patients (15.4%) treated by coagulation still experienced mild surgery-related recent memory deficits. No complications persisted at the 12-month follow-up.


The disconnection procedure is a safe and effective treatment strategy to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in patients with HHs. With the limitations of initial experience and a short-term follow-up, it appears that the thulium 2-μm laser has the technical features to replace the standard coagulation in this procedure.