Object. The technique involved in multiple subpial transections (MSTs) allows the surgeon treating patients with epilepsy the capability to make disconnective lesions in epileptogenic regions of eloquent cortex. Although there have been increasing numbers of reports in adults of the efficacy and relative safety of this technique, there are relatively few such reports in children. The authors present their experience in 30 children who underwent MSTs during the surgical management of the seizure disorder.
Methods. Thirty consecutive children who underwent MSTs with or without cortical excision form the basis of this retrospective review. An analysis of neurological adverse effects following MSTs and seizure outcome was performed.
Between 1996 and 2000, MSTs were performed either as stand-alone therapy (four patients) or in conjunction with planned cortical excisions (26 patients). Twenty-three children underwent invasive monitoring after placement of subdural grid electrodes, and in seven intraoperative electrocorticography alone was performed. The mean follow-up period for the group was 3.5 years (minimum 30 months in all cases). All 20 patients in whom MSTs were performed in the primary motor cortex experienced transient hemiparesis (mild in 12 and moderate in eight) lasting up to 6 weeks; however, no patient suffered a permanent motor deficit in the long-term follow-up period. In 26 patients who underwent cortical resections followed by MSTs, 12 (46%) were seizure free (Engel Class I) following surgery. Eleven patients (42%) (Engel Classes II and III) continued to suffer seizures but improvement in seizure control was adequate following surgery. In the 23 patients in whom subdural grids were placed to capture the ictal onset zone by invasive video-electroencephalography, MSTs comprised a mean of 37% of the surgically treated area under the grid.
Conclusions. The results of this series demonstrate that MSTs can be performed with acceptable morbidity in children undergoing epilepsy surgery. The precise role of MSTs in controlling seizure frequency and outcome, especially when combined with planned cortical resections, awaits further study.