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Epilepsia. 2011 Nov;52(11):1966-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03272.x.

Cognitive outcome after extratemporal epilepsy surgery in childhood.

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Neuroscience Department, UCL Institute of Child Health & Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom. l.d'



The present study aims to describe the cognitive profile of children with medically refractory extratemporal epilepsies who undergo focal surgery and to identify determinants for preoperative and postoperative cognitive level.


This is a retrospective cohort study. Children who underwent operations between 1997 and 2008 with a focal lesion in frontal, parietal, or occipital cortices and with a presurgical or postsurgical cognitive evaluation, were eligible for the study.


Sixty-six children (53% male) with a mean age of 9.3 ± 8.8 years were enrolled. The overall full-scale IQ (FSIQ) at cognitive testing was 77.4 ± 44.4 before surgery. Children did not show any significant change in their FSIQ after surgery. Duration of presurgical epilepsy, age at epilepsy onset, etiology, and gender were found to be independently associated with lower FSIQ before surgery. Presurgical cognitive level was the only factor independently associated with postsurgical FSIQ. Overall, 51.5% of children who underwent surgery were seizure-free; however, the good postsurgical epilepsy control did not seem to influence the cognitive outcome.


Children with extratemporal lobe epilepsy are below the normal cognitive level range. Intellectual abilities of children undergoing surgery are determined independently by presurgical factors and surgery does not seem to affect the cognitive level in the postsurgical period, even for those who become free from clinical seizures.

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