Previous studies have demonstrated that an important factor in seizure freedom following surgery for lesional epilepsy in the peri-eloquent cortex is completeness of resection. However, aggressive resection of epileptic tissue localized to this region must be balanced with the competing objective of retaining postoperative neurological functioning. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of intraoperative MRI (iMRI) as a complement to existing epilepsy protocol techniques and to compare rates of seizure freedom and neurological deficit in pediatric patients undergoing resection of perieloquent lesions.
The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of pediatric patients who underwent resection of focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) or heterotopia localized to eloquent cortex regions at the Children's National Health System between March 2005 and August 2015. Patients were grouped into two categories depending on whether they underwent conventional resection (n = 18) or iMRI-assisted resection (n = 11). Patient records were reviewed for factors including demographics, length of hospitalization, postoperative seizure freedom, postoperative neurological deficit, and need for reoperation. Postsurgical seizure outcome was assessed at the last postoperative follow-up evaluation using the Engel Epilepsy Surgery Outcome Scale.
At the time of the last postoperative follow-up examination, 9 (82%) of the 11 patients in the iMRI resection group were seizure free (Engel Class I), compared with 7 (39%) of the 18 patients in the control resection group (p = 0.05). Ten (91%) of the 11 patients in the iMRI cohort achieved gross-total resection (GTR), compared with 8 (44%) of 18 patients in the conventional resection cohort (p = 0.02). One patient in the iMRI-assisted resection group underwent successful reoperation at a later date for residual dysplasia, compared with 7 patients in the conventional resection cohort (with 2/7 achieving complete resection). Four (36%) of the patients in the iMRI cohort developed postoperative neurological deficits, compared with 15 patients (83%) in the conventional resection cohort (p = 0.02).
These results suggest that in comparison with a conventional surgical protocol and technique for resection of epileptic lesions in peri-eloquent cortex, the incorporation of iMRI led to elevated rates of GTR and postoperative seizure freedom. Furthermore, this study suggests that iMRI-assisted surgeries are associated with a reduction in neurological deficits due to intraoperative damage of eloquent cortex.