The stereotactic approach for mapping epileptic networks

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J Neurosurg 121:1239–1246, 2014

Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) is a methodology that permits accurate 3D in vivo electroclinical recordings of epileptiform activity. Among other general indications for invasive intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring, its advantages include access to deep cortical structures, its ability to localize the epileptogenic zone when subdural grids have failed to do so, and its utility in the context of possible multifocal seizure onsets with the need for bihemispheric explorations. In this context, the authors present a brief historical overview of the technique and report on their experience with 2 SEEG techniques (conventional Leksell frame-based stereotaxy and frameless stereotaxy under robotic guidance) for the purpose of invasively monitoring difficult-to-localize refractory focal epilepsy.

Methods. Over a period of 4 years, the authors prospectively identified 200 patients with refractory epilepsy who collectively underwent 2663 tailored SEEG electrode implantations for invasive intracranial EEG monitoring and extraoperative mapping. The first 122 patients underwent conventional Leksell frame-based SEEG electrode placement; the remaining 78 patients underwent frameless stereotaxy under robotic guidance, following acquisition of a stereotactic ROSA robotic device at the authors’ institution. Electrodes were placed according to a preimplantation hypothesis of the presumed epileptogenic zone, based on a standardized preoperative workup including video-EEG monitoring, MRI, PET, ictal SPECT, and neuropsychological assessment. Demographic features, seizure semiology, number and location of implanted SEEG electrodes, and location of the epileptogenic zone were recorded and analyzed for all patients. For patients undergoing subsequent craniotomy for resection, the type of resection and procedure-related complications were prospectively recorded. These results were analyzed and correlated with pathological diagnosis and postoperative seizure outcomes.

Results. The epileptogenic zone was confirmed by SEEG in 154 patients (77%), of which 134 (87%) underwent subsequent craniotomy for epileptogenic zone resection. Within this cohort, 90 patients had a minimum follow-up of at least 12 months; therein, 61 patients (67.8%) remained seizure free, with an average follow-up period of 2.4 years. The most common pathological diagnosis was focal cortical dysplasia Type I (55 patients, 61.1%). Per electrode, the surgical complications included wound infection (0.08%), hemorrhagic complications (0.08%), and a transient neurological deficit (0.04%) in a total of 5 patients (2.5%). One patient (0.5%) ultimately died due to intracerebral hematoma directly ensuing from SEEG electrode placement.

Conclusions. Based on these results, SEEG methodology is safe, reliable, and effective. It is associated with minimal morbidity and mortality, and serves as a practical, minimally invasive approach to extraoperative localization of the epileptogenic zone in patients with refractory epilepsy.