Minimally invasive approaches to treating MTLE might achieve seizure freedom while minimizing adverse effects.
Anterior temporal lobectomy as described by Penfield and Baldwin 2). is the most established neurosurgical procedure for temporal lobe epilepsy, for those in whom anticonvulsant medications do not control epileptic seizures.
It consists in the complete removal of the anterior portion of the temporal lobe of the brain.
The techniques for removing temporal lobe tissue vary from resection of large amounts of tissue, including lateral temporal cortex along with medial structures, to more restricted anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) to more restricted removal of only the medial structures (selective amygdalohippocampectomy, SAH).
The measurements are made along the middle temporal gyrus.
Dominant temporal lobe: Up to 4-5 cm may be removed
Non Dominant: 6- 7 cm.
Nearly all reports of seizure outcome following these procedures indicate that the best outcome group includes patients with MRI evidence of mesial temporal sclerosis (hippocampal atrophy with increased T-2 signal.) The range of seizure-free outcomes for these patients is reported to be between 80 and 90%, which is typically reported as a sub-set of data within a larger surgical series.
Open surgical procedures such as ATL have inherent risks including damage to the brain (either directly or indirectly by injury to important blood vessels), bleeding (which can require re-operation), blood loss (which can require transfusion), and infection. Furthermore, open procedures require several days of care in the hospital including at least one night in an intensive care unit. Although such treatment can be costly, multiple studies have demonstrated that ATL in patients who have failed at least two anticonvulsant drug trials (thereby meeting the criteria for medically intractable temporal lobe epilepsy) has lower mortality, lower morbidity and lower long-term cost in comparison with continued medical therapy without surgical intervention.
The strongest evidence supporting ATL over continued medical therapy for medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy is a prospective, randomized trial of ATL compared to best medical therapy (anticonvulsants), which convincingly demonstrated that the seizure-free rate after surgery was ~ 60% as compared to only 8% for the medicine only group.
Furthermore, there was no mortality in the surgery group, while there was seizure-related mortality in the medical therapy group. Therefore, ATL is considered the standard of care for patients with medically intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.
Surgical resection is the gold standard treatment for drug-resistant focal epilepsy, including mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) and other focal cortical lesions with correlated electrophysiological features. Anterior temporal lobectomy with amygdalohippocampectomy (ATLAH) has been shown to be more efficacious than continued medical therapy in a randomized, controlled trial 4).
The most common surgical procedure for the mesial temporal lobe is the standard anterior temporal resection or what is commonly called the anterior temporal lobectomy. There are, however, a number of other more selective procedures for removal of the mesial temporal lobe structures (amygdala, hippocampus, and parahippocampal gyrus) that spare much of the lateral temporal neocortex. Included in these procedures collectively referred to as selective amygdalohippocampectomy are the transsylvian, subtemporal, and transcortical (trans-middle temporal gyrus) selective amygdalohippocampectomy 5).
The ATL group scored significantly worse for recognition of fear compared with selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SAH) patients. Inversely, after SAH scores for disgust were significantly lower than after ATL, independently of the side of resection. Unilateral temporal damage impairs facial emotion recognition (FER). Different neurosurgical procedures may affect FER differently 6).
Functional MRI, Resting state fMRI, diffusion tensor imaging modalities can be used effectively, in an additive fashion, to predict functional reorganization and cognitive outcome following anterior temporal lobectomy 7).
Cranial nerve (CN) deficits following anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) are an uncommon but well-recognized complication. The usual CNs implicated in post-ATL complications include the oculomotor, trochlear, and facial nerves.
Injury to the trigeminal nerve leading to neuropathic pain are described in 2 cases following temporal lobe resections for pharmacoresistant epilepsy. The possible pathophysiological mechanisms are discussed and the microsurgical anatomy of surgically relevant structures is reviewed. 8).
Boucher et al. compared preoperative vs. postoperative memory performance in 13 patients with selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SAH) with 26 patients who underwent ATL matched on side of surgery, IQ, age at seizure onset, and age at surgery. Memory function was assessed using the Logical Memory subtest from the Wechsler Memory Scales - 3rd edition (LM-WMS), the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), the Digit Span subtest from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, and the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test. Repeated measures analyses of variance revealed opposite effects of SAH and ATL on the two verbal learning memory tests. On the immediate recall trial of the LM-WMS, performance deteriorated after ATL in comparison with that after SAH. By contrast, on the delayed recognition trial of the RAVLT, performance deteriorated after SAH compared with that after ATL. However, additional analyses revealed that the latter finding was only observed when surgery was conducted in the right hemisphere. No interaction effects were found on other memory outcomes. The results are congruent with the view that tasks involving rich semantic content and syntactical structure are more sensitive to the effects of lateral temporal cortex resection as compared with mesiotemporal resection. The findings highlight the importance of task selection in the assessment of memory in patients undergoing TLE surgery 9)