The proximal (anterior) transsylvian approach through a pterional craniotomy was developed by the senior author (M.G.Y.) in 1967 for the microsurgical treatment of saccular aneurysms of the circle of Willis, frontoorbital and temporobasal arteriovenous malformations, cavernomas, and extrinsic and intrinsic tumors. The acquired positive surgical experiences on this large series enabled the senior author, in 1973, to apply this approach for the selective amygdalohippocampectomy in patients with intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.
The proximal (anterior) transsylvian-transamygdala approach to the mesial temporal structures permits the selective two-thirds resection of the amygdala and hippocampus-parahippocampus in an anteroinferior to posteroinferior exploration axis along the base of the semicircular temporal horn. This strategy ensures preservation of the overlying neopallial temporal convolutions such as the T1, T2, T3, and T4 gyri as well as the related subcortical connective fiber systems and other essential components of the temporal white matter.
The application of rigid brain self-retaining retractor systems was strictly avoided during the entire procedure. Computer-assisted navigation was never used. On routine postoperative CT scanning and MR imaging studies, infarction was not observed in any patient. The availability of tractography technology has proven that the connective fiber system around the resected mesial temporal area remains intact.
The surgical outcome and results on neoplastic and vascular lesions of the mesiobasal temporal region have been presented in Volumes II, IIIB, and IVB of Microneurosurgery. The surgical outcomes and results in 102 patients with mesial temporal seizures who underwent surgery performed by the senior author in Zürich have been previously published.
In this paper, 73 patients who underwent surgery between 1994 and September 2006 in Little Rock, Arkansas, are presented, and 13 other patients are excluded who underwent surgery after September 2006. Altogether, among 188 patients who underwent surgery, there was no surgical mortality or morbidity, and no neurological deficits, new neurocognitive dysfunction, or impairments of the preoperative incapacities.
The surgical outcome in terms of seizures was rewarding in the majority of patients, particularly in those who exhibited the following irregularities on preoperative investigations: regular local dysfunctions on electroencephalography, dysmorphic changes in the mesiobasal temporal parenchyma on MR imaging studies, and hypometabolism in the anterior third of the temporal lobe on PET studies.
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