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Epilepsia. 2002 Jan;43(1):33-40.

Focal cortical dysplasia of Taylor's balloon cell type: a clinicopathological entity with characteristic neuroimaging and histopathological features, and favorable postsurgical outcome.

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Department of Radiology/Neuroradiology, University of Bonn Medical Center, Bonn, Germany.



Focal cortical dysplasia of Taylor's balloon-cell type (FCD-BC) are a frequent cause of pharmacoresistant epilepsy in young patients. In order to characterize FCD-BC, we coupled MRI and histopathology, and analyzed the clinical outcome following epilepsy surgery.


From an epilepsy data bank with 547 histological specimens, 17 FCD-BC were re-evaluated of which high resolution MRI was available. Five additional FCD-BC were prospectively identified by MRI. Histopathological and immunohistochemical features were related to MRI. Outcome following lesionectomy was analyzed as determined on routine examinations 3, 6 and 12 months following surgery.


All but one lesion were located outside the temporal lobe. A markedly hyperintense funnel-shaped subcortical zone tapering towards the lateral ventricle was the characteristic finding on FLAIR MRI. Histopathologically, the subcortical zone of the FCD-BC displayed hypomyelinated white matter with radially oriented balloon cells and gliosis. Dysplastic neurons were found in the adjacent, disorganized cortex. All patients with complete lesionectomy were seizure free one year following surgery.


Focal cortical dysplasias of Taylor's balloon-cell type (FCD-BC) have characteristic MRI and histopathological findings. MRI recognition is important, since outcome following resective surgery is favorable.

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