Surgical treatment of limbic epilepsy associated with extrahippocampal lesions: the problem of dual pathology

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  • 1 Divisions of Neurosurgery and Neuropathology, Department of Neurology and The Brain Research Institute, University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, and Department of Neurosurgery, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
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✓ The authors present their review of 178 patients who underwent en bloc temporal lobectomies as surgical treatment for intractable epilepsy. Hippocampal cell density was quantitatively analyzed and the histology of the anterior temporal lobe was reviewed. Fifty-four patients (30.3%) had evidence of extrahippocampal lesions in addition to neuronal cell loss within the hippocampus (the dual pathology group). The pattern of cell loss was analyzed in the remaining 124 cases (69.7%) with no extrahippocampal pathology, and compared with that of the dual pathology group and a control group of four nonepileptic patients.

Hippocampal cell loss was found in almost all epileptic patients compared to the control group. Severe cell loss greater than 30% of control values was found in 88.7% of patients without extrahippocampal lesions, but in only 51.8% of patients with dual pathology. The difference between these two groups was statistically significant (p < 0.001). In the dual pathology group, lesions of different pathology had a significant relationship with the degree of hippocampal cell loss: all 12 patients with glioma had mild cell loss, whereas all 13 patients with heterotopia were associated with severe cell loss. Severity of hippocampal cell loss was also analyzed in relation to seizure history: a prior severe head injury was associated with severe cell loss. Other factors such as seizure duration, secondary generalization, or family history of seizures were not associated with hippocampal damage. Dual pathology may produce a combination of neocortical and temporolimbic epilepsies that warrants a precise definition of the true epileptogenic area prior to surgical treatment.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Michel F. Lévesque, M.D., F.R.C.S.(C), Division of Neurosurgery, UCLA School of Medicine, 760 Westwood Plaza, 17–376, Los Angeles, California 90024.
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