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Epilepsia. 2012 Jan;53(1):1-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03298.x. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Subtypes of medial temporal lobe epilepsy: influence on temporal lobectomy outcomes?

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Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.


Surgical resection of the hippocampus is the most successful treatment for medication-refractory medial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) due to hippocampal sclerosis. Unfortunately, at least one of four operated patients continue to have disabling seizures after surgery, and there is no existing method to predict individual surgical outcome. Prior to surgery, patients who become seizure free appear identical to those who continue to have seizures after surgery. Interestingly, newly converging presurgical data from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) suggest that the entorhinal and perirhinal cortices may play an important role in seizure generation. These areas are not consistently resected with surgery and it is possible that they continue to generate seizures after surgery in some patients. Therefore, subtypes of MTLE patients can be considered according to the degree of extrahippocampal damage and epileptogenicity of the medial temporal cortex. The identification of these subtypes has the potential to drastically improve surgical results via optimized presurgical planning. In this review, we discuss the current data that suggests neural network damage in MTLE, focusing on the medial temporal cortex. We explore how this evidence may be applied to presurgical planning and suggest approaches for future investigation.

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