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Seizure. 2013 Sep;22(7):502-6. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2012.11.011. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

Is reoperation an option for patients with temporal lobe epilepsy after failure of surgery?

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Department of Neurology, Medical University Vienna, Austria.



Epilepsy surgery is the most efficacious therapeutic modality for patients with medically refractory focal epilepsies, but surgical failures remain a challenge to the epilepsy treatment team. The aim of present study was to evaluate the postoperative outcome of patients who underwent reoperation after a failed epilepsy surgery on the temporal lobe.


We systematically analyzed the results of comprehensive preoperative evaluations before the first surgery, and before and after reoperation in 17 patients with drug resistant temporal lobe epilepsies.


Overall, 13 of 17 patients (76.5%) improved after reoperation: five patients (29.4%) were completely seizure free after reoperation (median duration 60months, range 12-72); six patients (35.3%) were seizure free at least 12month before observation points (median duration 120.5months, range 35-155) and two patients (11.8%) had a decrease in seizure frequency. Four patients (23.5%) remained unchanged with respect to seizure frequency and severity. There was no correlation between the improvement in seizure outcome after reoperation and other clinical data except of the history of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The patients who had no history of TBI improved after reoperation, compared to patients with TBI (p=0.044). The postoperative seizure outcome of patients with incongruent Video-EEG results before the first surgery (p=0.116) and before reoperation (p=0.622) was not poorer compared to patients with congruent Video-EEG results.


Reoperation can considerably improve the operative outcome of the first failed epilepsy surgery in patients with drug resistant temporal lobe epilepsies. Epilepsy centres should be encouraged to report the results of failed epilepsy surgeries.


Epilepsy surgery; Postoperative outcome; Reoperation; Surgery failure; Temporal lobe epilepsy

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