Occipitotemporal hippocampal depth electrodes in intracranial epilepsy monitoring: safety and utility

Clinical article

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  • 1 Section of Neurosurgery and
  • | 2 Department of Neurology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; and
  • | 3 Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire
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Object

Intracranial monitoring for epilepsy has been proven to enhance diagnostic accuracy and provide localizing information for surgical treatment of intractable seizures. The authors investigated the usefulness of hippocampal depth electrodes in the era of more advanced imaging techniques.

Methods

Between 1988 and 2010, 100 patients underwent occipitotemporal hippocampal depth electrode (OHDE) implantation as part of invasive seizure monitoring, and their charts were retrospectively reviewed. The authors' technique involved the stereotactically guided (using the Leksell model G frame) implantation of a 12-contact depth electrode directed along the long axis of the hippocampus, through an occipital twist drill hole.

Results

Of the 100 patients (mean age 35.0 years [range 13–58 years], 51% male) who underwent intracranial investigation, 84 underwent resection of the seizure focus. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) in 27% of patients, showed abnormal findings without MTS in 55% of patients, and showed normal findings in 18% of patients. One patient developed a small asymptomatic occipital hemorrhage around the electrode tract. The use of OHDEs enabled epilepsy resection in 45.7% of patients who eventually underwent standard or selective temporal lobe resection. The hippocampal formation was spared during surgery because data obtained from the depth electrodes showed no or only secondary involvement in 14% of patients with preoperative temporal localization. The use of OHDEs prevented resections in 12% of patients with radiographic evidence of MTS. Eighty-three percent of patients who underwent resection had Engel Class I (68%) or II (15%) outcome at 2 years of follow-up.

Conclusions

The use of OHDEs for intracranial epilepsy monitoring has a favorable risk profile, and in the authors' experience it proved to be a valuable component of intracranial investigation. The use of OHDEs can provide the sole evidence for resection of some epileptogenic foci and can also result in hippocampal sparing or prevent likely unsuccessful resection in other patients.

Abbreviations used in this paper:

EEG = electroencephalography; MTS = mesial temporal sclerosis; OHDE = occipitotemporal hippocampal depth electrode.

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