Developmental anterobasal temporal encephalocele and temporal lobe epilepsy

Richard Leblanc M.Sc., M.D., F.R.C.S.(C) 1 , Donatella Tampieri M.D. 1 , Yves Robitaille M.D., F.A.C.P. 1 , André Olivier M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.S.(C) 1 , Frederick Andermann M.D., F.R.C.P.(C) 1 and Alan Sherwin M.D., F.R.C.P.(C) 1
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  • 1 Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, and McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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✓ The authors describe the association between an anterobasal temporal lobe encephalocele and medically intractable temporal lobe epilepsy in three patients treated successfully by surgery. Two men and one woman, aged 26 to 37 years (mean 31 years), had onset of complex automatism and generalized seizures in their second and fourth decades (mean age 22.7 years). They had been epileptic for 6 to 14 years (mean 8.3 years) before surgery. Preoperative electroencephalograms localized ictal epileptic activity to the left mesial temporal lobe in all cases, and neuropsychological testing revealed dominant temporal lobe dysfunction. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated an anteromedial basal temporal encephalocele extending into the pterygopalatine fossa through a bone defect at the base of the greater sphenoid wing in the region of the foramen rotundum and pterygoid process, a discrete center of embryonal chondrification. At surgery, the encephaloceles were found in front of the uncus, and an area of gliosis extended from the encephalocele to the amygdalohippocampal region. All patients have been seizure-free following anterior temporal resection and amygdalohippocampectomy including the encephalocele. These three cases delineate a condition of disordered embryogenesis wherein a developmental anterobasal temporal encephalocele acts as the substrate for temporal lobe epilepsy. This lesion may be diagnosed preoperatively with MR imaging and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of late-onset temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Richard Leblanc, M.D., F.R.C.S.(C), Department of Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, 3801 University Street, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B4, Canada.
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