Department of Paediatric Neurology, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester,
Cochrane Epilepsy Group, Liverpool,
Department of Biostatistics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Correspondence: Siobhan West,
Department of Paediatric Neurology,
Royal Manchester Children's Hospital,
Manchester, M13 0JH,
This seminar discusses the history and development of techniques for surgical intervention for people with refractory focal epilepsy. Published surgical success rates and prognostic factors associated with post-operative seizure freedom from individual studies have been variable and contradictory. We present here the key findings of a Cochrane systematic review of all evidence published since the introduction of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to pre-operative surgical assessment in 1984. Our findings show the usefulness of uncontrolled case series is now past. Future studies with a prospective controlled design should focus on specific research questions to help improve results and provide better-informed advice.