‘C. Munari‘ Epilepsy Surgery Centre, Niguarda Hospital, Milan, Italy. Neuroradiology Department, Niguarda Hospital, Milan, Italy. Pathology Department, Niguarda Hospital, Milan, Italy
Malformations of cortical development may be associated with drug‐resistant partial epilepsy suitable for surgical therapy. From the anatomo‐pathological point of view, this categorisation has been used in reference to a wide range of alterations of the cortical mantle. Focal cortical dysplasias represent the main group of malformations of cortical development, but there are also other types of alterations, such as heterotopias, double cortex or polymicrogyria. Defining candidacy for surgical therapy and tailored resection requires thorough pre‐surgical evaluation so that the approach will be individualised for each patient. We present our series of 126 patients with malformation of cortical development selected from 321 consecutively operated patients. Within this group encompassing different types of malformation of cortical development, including periventricular heterotopia (nine patients), polymicrogyria (three patients), hemimegalencephaly (one patient) and subcortical band heterotopia (one patient), the largest group was 81 individuals with focal cortical dysplasia. For this last group, we propose a simplified classification defining 42 architectural dysplasias, 12 cytoarchitectural dysplasias and 27 Taylor‘s focal cortical dysplasias. In addition, at routine neuropathological investigation, the only morphological alteration shown by 31 patients was diffuse neuronal heterotopia. All patients underwent scalp EEG and video‐EEG, and 75 patients (59.5%) also underwent stereo‐EEG. Magnetic resonance imaging and stereotactic stereoscopic angiography represented the indispensable premises for further studies, in particular stereo‐EEG, and for planning surgery and tailoring resection. Magnetic resonance imaging was unhelpful in 17 out of 81 patients with focal cortical dysplasia and in seven out of 31 with neuronal heterotopia, while signal alterations were present in all other cases. Common characteristics corresponding to clinical‐histopathological homogeneous subgroups were found within the focal cortical dysplasia group. In patients with architectural dysplasia, the epileptogenic zone was mainly in the temporal lobe and there was a lower seizure frequency than in patients with Taylor‘s focal cortical dysplasia. Patients with Taylor‘s type had an epileptogenic zone that was mainly extra‐temporal, and a distinctive interictal stereo‐EEG. The best outcome was observed in patients with Taylor‘s type dysplasia: 69% seizure‐free (Engel class Ia) after at least 1 year of follow‐up, compared with 45% of cytoarchitectural dysplasia and 49% of architectural dysplasia patients.