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Theodore H. Schwartz and Dennis D. Spencer

Object. Prior reports of seizure control following reoperation for failed epilepsy surgery have shown good results. These studies included patients who presented during the era preceding magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and the patients were often not monitored intracranially or underwent subtotal hippocampal resections. In this study, the authors hypothesized that reoperation for recurrent seizures following a more comprehensive initial workup and surgery would not yield such good results.

Methods. The authors examined a consecutive series of patients who underwent two operations at Yale—New Haven Hospital for medically intractable epilepsy and in whom there was a minimum of 1-year follow up after the second surgery. All patients were evaluated and treated according to a standard protocol, including preoperative MR imaging, a low threshold for invasive monitoring, and a radical amygdalohippocampectomy when indicated.

Twenty-seven patients were identified (five with mesial temporal sclerosis, 20 with neocortical disease, and two with multifocal sites of seizure onset) of whom six (22%) underwent intentionally palliative second surgery (corpus callostomy or placement of a vagus nerve stimulator [VNS]). Of the remaining 21 patients, only four (19%) became seizure free after a second resective operation. The most common causes of treatment failure were dual pathology, recurrent tumor, limited resection to preserve function, widespread developmental abnormalities, and electrographic sampling error. Successful outcomes resulted from removal of recurrent tumors, completion of a functional hemispherectomy, or repeated invasive monitoring to correct a sampling error. Five (83%) of the six intentionally palliative second operations resulted in more than a 50% decrease in seizure frequency.

Conclusions. If an aggressive preoperative evaluation and surgical resection are performed, reoperation for recurrent seizures has a much lower likelihood of cure than previously reported. Intentionally palliative surgery such as placement of a VNS unit may be considered for patients in whom the initial operation fails to decrease seizure frequency.

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Ankit Bansal and Sumit Sinha

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Theodore H. Schwartz, Orrin Devinsky, Werner Doyle and Kenneth Perrine

Object. Although it is known that 5 to 10% of patients have language areas anterior to the rolandic cortex, many surgeons still perform standard anterior temporal lobectomies for epilepsy of mesial onset and report minimal long-term dysphasia. The authors examined the importance of language mapping before anterior temporal lobectomy.

Methods. The authors mapped naming, reading, and speech arrest in a series of 67 patients via stimulation of long-term implanted subdural grids before resective epilepsy surgery and correlated the presence of language areas in the anterior temporal lobe with preoperative demographic and neuropsychometric data.

Naming (p < 0.03) and reading (p < 0.05) errors were more common than speech arrest in patients undergoing surgery in the anterior temporal lobe. In the approximate region of a standard anterior temporal lobectomy, including 2.5 cm of the superior temporal gyrus and 4.5 cm of both the middle and inferior temporal gyrus, the authors identified language areas in 14.5% of patients tested. Between 1.5 and 3.5 cm from the temporal tip, patients who had seizure onset before 6 years of age had more naming (p < 0.02) and reading (p < 0.01) areas than those in whom seizure onset occurred after age 6 years. Patients with a verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) lower than 90 had more naming (p < 0.05) and reading (p < 0.02) areas than those with an IQ higher than 90. Finally, patients who were either left handed or right hemisphere memory dominant had more naming (p < 0.05) and reading (p < 0.02) areas than right-handed patients with bilateral or left hemisphere memory lateralization. Postoperative neuropsychometric testing showed a trend toward a greater decline in naming ability in patients who were least likely to have anterior language areas, that is, those with higher verbal IQ and later seizure onset.

Conclusions. Preoperative identification of markers of left hemisphere damage, such as early seizure onset, poor verbal IQ, left handedness, and right hemisphere memory dominance should alert neurosurgeons to the possibility of encountering essential language areas in the anterior temporal lobe (1.5–3.5 cm from the temporal tip). Naming and reading tasks are required to identify these areas. Whether removal of these areas necessarily induces long-term impairment in verbal abilities is unknown; however, in patients with a low verbal IQ and early seizure onset, these areas appear to be less critical for language processing.

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Ilya Laufer, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz


The extended transsphenoidal approach is a less invasive method for removing purely suprasellar lesions compared with traditional transcranial approaches. Most advocates have used a sublabial incision and a microscope and have reported a significant risk of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage. The authors report on a series of purely endoscopic endonasal surgeries for resection of suprasellar supradiaphragmatic lesions above a normal-sized sella turcica with a low risk of CSF leakage.


A purely endoscopic endonasal approach was used to remove suprasellar lesions in a series of 10 patients. Five lesions were prechiasmal (three tuberculum sellae and two planum sphenoidale meningiomas) and five were post-chiasmal (four craniopharyngiomas and one Rathke cleft cyst). The floor of the planum sphenoidale and the sella turcica was reconstructed using a multilayer closure with autologous and synthetic materials. Spinal drainage was performed in only five cases. Complete resection of the lesions was achieved in all but one patient. The pituitary stalk was preserved in all but one patient, whose stalk was invaded by a craniopharyngioma and who had preoperative diabetes insipidus (DI). Vision improved postoperatively in all patients with preoperative impairment. Six patients had temporary DI; in five, the DI became permanent. Four patients with craniopharyngiomas required cortisone and thyroid replacement. After a mean follow up of 10 months, there was only one transient CSF leak when a lumbar drain was clamped prematurely on postoperative Day 5.


A purely endoscopic endonasal approach to suprasellar supradiaphragmatic lesions is a feasible minimally invasive alternative to craniotomy. With a multilayer closure, the risk of CSF leakage is low and lumbar drainage can be avoided. A larger series will be required to validate this approach.

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Edward D. McCoul, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz


Endoscopic skull base surgery (ESBS) is a minimal-access technique that provides an alternative to traditional approaches. Patient-reported outcomes are becoming increasingly important in measuring the success of surgical interventions. Endoscopic skull base surgery may lead to improvements in quality of life (QOL) since natural orifices are used to reach the pathology; however, sinonasal QOL may be negatively affected. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of ESBS on both site-specific QOL, using the Anterior Skull Base Questionnaire (ASBQ), and sinonasal-related QOL, using the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test (SNOT-22).


Consecutive patients from a tertiary referral center who were undergoing ESBS were prospectively enrolled in this study. All patients completed the ASBQ and SNOT-22 preoperatively as well as at regular intervals after ESBS.


Sixty-six patients were included in the study, and 57.6% of them had pituitary adenoma. There was no significant decline or improvement in the ASBQ-measured QOL at 3 and 6 weeks after ESBS, but there were significant improvements at 12 weeks and 6 months postoperatively (p < 0.05). Improvements were noted in all but one ASBQ subdomain at 12 weeks and 6 months postsurgery (p < 0.05). Preoperative QOL was significantly worse in patients who had undergone revision surgery and significantly improved postoperatively in patients who underwent gross-total resection (p < 0.05). Scores on the SNOT-22 worsened at 3 weeks postoperatively and returned to baseline thereafter. The presence of a nasoseptal flap or a graft-donor site did not contribute to a decreased QOL.


Endoscopic skull base surgery is associated with an improvement in postoperative site-specific QOL as compared with the preoperative QOL. Short-term improvements are greater if gross-total resection is achieved. Sinonasal QOL transiently declines and then returns to preoperative baseline levels. Endoscopic skull base surgery is a valuable tool in the neurosurgical management of anterior skull base pathology, leading to improvements in site-specific QOL.