Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery: Long-term 5-Year Seizure Remission and Medication Use

Neurosurgery 71:985–993, 2012

It is unclear whether long-term seizure outcomes in children are similar to those in adult epilepsy surgery patients.

OBJECTIVE: To determine 5-year outcomes and antiepilepsy drug (AED) use in pediatric epilepsy surgery patients from a single institution.

METHODS: The cohort consisted of children younger than 18 years of age whose 5-year outcome data would have been available by 2010. Comparisons were made between patients with and without 5-year data (n = 338), patients with 5-year data for seizure outcome (n = 257), and seizure-free patients on and off AEDs (n = 137).

RESULTS: Five-year data were available from 76% of patients. More seizure-free patients with focal resections for hippocampal sclerosis and tumors lacked 5-year data compared with other cases. Of those with 5-year data, 53% were continuously seizure free, 18% had late seizure recurrence, 3% became seizure free after initial failure, and 25% were never seizure free. Patients were more likely to be continuously seizure free if their surgery was performed during the period 2001 to 2005 (68%) compared with surgery performed from 1996 to 2000 (61%), 1991 to 1995 (36%), and 1986 to 1990 (46%). More patients had 1 or fewer seizures per month in the late seizure recurrence (47%) compared with the not seizure-free group (20%). Four late deaths occurred in the not seizure-free group compared with 1 in the seizure-free group. Of patients who were continuously seizure free, 55% were not taking AEDs, and more cortical dysplasia patients (74%) had stopped taking AEDs compared with hemimegalencephaly patients (18%).

CONCLUSION: In children, 5-year outcomes improved over 20 years of clinical experience. Our results are similar to those of adult epilepsy surgery patients despite mostly extratemporal and hemispheric operations for diverse developmental etiologies.