John Libbey Eurotext

Functional hemispherectomy in adults with intractable epilepsy syndromes: a report of 4 cases Volume 11, issue 3, September 2009


  • Functionnal hemispherectomy in adults with intractable epilepsy syndromes: a report of 4 cases


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Kork Epilepsy Center, Kehl-Kork, Epilepsy Centre, University Hospital Freiburg, University Department of Neurosurgery, Freiburg, Germany

[Case records of Epileptic Disorders. Anatomo-electro-clinical correlations. Case 02-2009] Background. Functional hemispherectomy (FH) is mainly performed in children with catastrophic epilepsies and pre-existing severe hemiparesis. It is accepted that mainly patients at young ages with more or less complete loss of their hand function are suitable candidates for FH. However, we feel that FH should be considered also in some adults with devastating unilateral epilepsy syndromes. Patients and methods. We report four cases of adults who underwent FH because of their intractable epilepsy syndromes. Three of the four patients had reduced but not complete loss of hand function. Careful weighing-up of the risk-benefit ratio still led to the decision to perform FH in order to achieve complete seizure relief. Results. All patients had a surgical outcome of Engel class I; one of them suffered from post-operative psychogenic non-epileptic seizures which were treated successfully by psychotherapy. No clinically relevant complications occurred. Conclusion. We wish to point out that FH is a possible surgical option in cases with catastrophic epilepsies in adulthood. Patients and relatives should strongly consider that the likelihood of at least partially, impaired hand function or other surgery-related additional handicaps may be outweighed by the chance of freedom of seizures in a limited number of patients. In all of our cases, patients and relatives agreed that the surgical outcome led to a marked improvement of quality of life and that it had been the right decision to proceed with FH in spite of the expected negative impacts of the operation. Video examples of the pre- and post-surgical hand function of one sample patient are enclosed. [Published with video sequences]