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Advances in intracranial monitoring

Jeffrey P. Blount, Jason Cormier, Hyunmi Kim, Pongkiat Kankirawatana, Kristen O. Riley, and Robert C. Knowlton

Intracranial monitoring using electroencephalography (IC-EEG) continues to play a critical role in the assessment of patients with medically intractable localization-related epilepsy. There has been minimal change in grid or electrode design in the last 15–20 years, and the surgical approaches for implantation are unchanged. Intracranial monitoring using EEG allows detailed definition of the region of ictal onset and defines the epileptogenic zone, particularly with regard to adjacent potentially eloquent tissue. Recent developments of IC-EEG include the coregistration of functional imaging data such as magnetoencephalography to the frameless navigation systems. Despite significant inherent limitations that are often overlooked, IC-EEG remains the gold standard for localization of the epileptogenic cortex. Intracranial electrodes take a variety of different forms and may be placed either in the subdural (subdural strips and grids, depth electrodes) or extradural spaces (sphenoidal, peg, and epidural electrodes). Each form has its own advantages and shortcomings but extensive subdural implantation of electrodes is most common and is most comprehensively discussed. The indications for intracranial electrodes are reviewed.

Open access

Intact speech perception after resection of dominant hemisphere primary auditory cortex for the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy: illustrative case

Patrick W. Hullett, Nazineen Kandahari, Tina T. Shih, Jonathan K. Kleen, Robert C. Knowlton, Vikram R. Rao, and Edward F. Chang


In classic speech network models, the primary auditory cortex is the source of auditory input to Wernicke’s area in the posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG). Because resection of the primary auditory cortex in the dominant hemisphere removes inputs to the pSTG, there is a risk of speech impairment. However, recent research has shown the existence of other, nonprimary auditory cortex inputs to the pSTG, potentially reducing the risk of primary auditory cortex resection in the dominant hemisphere.


Here, the authors present a clinical case of a woman with severe medically refractory epilepsy with a lesional epileptic focus in the left (dominant) Heschl’s gyrus. Analysis of neural responses to speech stimuli was consistent with primary auditory cortex localization to Heschl’s gyrus. Although the primary auditory cortex was within the proposed resection margins, she underwent lesionectomy with total resection of Heschl’s gyrus. Postoperatively, she had no speech deficits and her seizures were fully controlled.


While resection of the dominant hemisphere Heschl’s gyrus/primary auditory cortex warrants caution, this case illustrates the ability to resect the primary auditory cortex without speech impairment and supports recent models of multiple parallel inputs to the pSTG.

Free access

Modern intracranial electroencephalography for epilepsy localization with combined subdural grid and depth electrodes with low and improved hemorrhagic complication rates

Anthony T. Lee, Noah M. Nichols, Benjamin A. Speidel, Joline M. Fan, Iahn Cajigas, Robert C. Knowlton, and Edward F. Chang


Recent trends have moved from subdural grid electrocorticography (ECoG) recordings toward stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG) depth electrodes for intracranial localization of seizures, in part because of perceived morbidity from subdural grid and strip electrodes. For invasive epilepsy monitoring, the authors describe the outcomes of a hybrid approach, whereby patients receive a combination of subdural grids, strips, and frameless stereotactic depth electrode implantations through a craniotomy. Evolution of surgical techniques was employed to reduce complications. In this study, the authors review the surgical hemorrhage and functional outcomes of this hybrid approach.


A retrospective review was performed of consecutive patients who underwent hybrid implantation from July 2012 to May 2022 at an academic epilepsy center by a single surgeon. Outcomes included hemorrhagic and nonhemorrhagic complications, neurological deficits, length of monitoring, and number of electrodes.


A total of 137 consecutive procedures were performed; 113 procedures included both subdural and depth electrodes. The number of depth electrodes and electrode contacts did not increase the risk of hemorrhage. A mean of 1.9 ± 0.8 grid, 4.9 ± 2.1 strip, and 3.0 ± 1.9 depth electrodes were implanted, for a mean of 125.1 ± 32 electrode contacts per patient. The overall incidence of hematomas over the study period was 5.1% (7 patients) and decreased significantly with experience and the introduction of new surgical techniques. The incidence of hematomas in the last 4 years of the study period was 0% (55 patients). Symptomatic hematomas were all delayed and extra-axial. These patients required surgical evacuation, and there were no cases of hematoma recurrence. All neurological deficits related to hematomas were temporary and were resolved at hospital discharge. There were 2 nonhemorrhagic complications. The mean duration of monitoring was 7.3 ± 3.2 days. Seizures were localized in 95% of patients, with 77% of patients eventually undergoing resection and 17% undergoing responsive neurostimulation device implantation.


In the authors’ institutional experience, craniotomy-based subdural and depth electrode implantation was associated with low hemorrhage rates and no permanent morbidity. The rate of hemorrhage can be nearly eliminated with surgical experience and specific techniques. The decision to use subdural electrodes or SEEG should be tailored to the patient’s unique pathology and surgeon experience.

Free access

Postsurgical seizure outcome in temporal lobe epilepsy patients with normal or subtle, nonspecific MRI findings

Karina A. González Otárula, Yee-Leng Tan, Jeffery A. Hall, Edward F. Chang, José A. Correa, François Dubeau, Viviane Sziklas, Jean-Paul Soucy, Marie-Christine Guiot, Robert C. Knowlton, and Eliane Kobayashi


The authors’ objective was to report postsurgical seizure outcome of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients with normal or subtle, nonspecific MRI findings and to identify prognostic factors related to seizure control after surgery.


This was a retrospective study of patients who underwent surgery from 1999 to 2014 at two comprehensive epilepsy centers. Patients with a clear MRI lesion according to team discussion and consensus were excluded. Presurgical information, surgery details, pathological data, and postsurgical outcomes were retrospectively collected from medical charts. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to assess the effect of clinical, surgical, and neuroimaging factors on the probability of Engel class I (favorable) versus class II–IV (unfavorable) outcome at last follow-up.


The authors included 73 patients (59% were female; median age at surgery 35.9 years) who underwent operations after a median duration of epilepsy of 13 years. The median follow-up after surgery was 30.6 months. At latest follow-up, 44% of patients had Engel class I outcome. Favorable prognostic factors were focal nonmotor aware seizures and unilateral or no spikes on interictal scalp EEG.


Favorable outcome can be achieved in a good proportion of TLE patients with normal or subtle, nonspecific MRI findings, particularly when presurgical investigation suggests a rather circumscribed generator. Presurgical factors such as the presence of focal nonmotor aware seizures and unilateral or no spikes on interictal EEG may indicate a higher probability of seizure freedom.