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Epilepsia. 2009 Jun;50(6):1450-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01868.x. Epub 2008 Nov 19.

Epilepsy surgery in children with seizures arising from the rolandic cortex.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California 63110, USA.



Medically intractable seizures arising from the sensorimotor (rolandic) cortex present a formidable challenge for epileptologists and epilepsy surgeons. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of surgical treatment for seizures in this region.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 24 children and adolescents who underwent surgical management of refractory rolandic epilepsy at our institution.


Patient age at the time of surgery ranged between 1.9 and 19.2 years, and median postoperative follow-up was 2.3 years. Three patients had clear lesions on preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that correlated with noninvasive electroencephalography (EEG) and underwent single-stage lesionectomies. Of the 21 patients who underwent invasive monitoring, 19 underwent therapeutic procedures, including lesionectomy, topectomy, and multiple subpial transections. Engel class I and II outcomes were seen in five of six patients (84.0%) after lesionectomy and in seven of nine patients (77.0%) and four of six patients (66.7%) after sensorimotor corticectomy or multiple subpial transections (MSTs), respectively. At last follow-up, neurologic deficits were observed following 50.0% (n = 3 of 6) of lesionectomies and 67.0% (n = 7 of 9) of topectomies; no neurologic deficits were seen in patients undergoing motor cortex MSTs. No correlation existed between seizure outcome and duration of epilepsy, age at diagnosis, age at surgery, histopathology, or the presence or absence of a discrete lesion.


Surgery for appropriately selected children with intractable seizures arising from rolandic cortex was effective and associated with minimal neurologic morbidity in many cases. Engel I-II outcome was achieved in 77% of patients overall, and neurologic deficits were often mild and improved over time. Lesionectomy resulted in the best seizure control, followed by topectomy, and then MSTs.

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