Among 70 patients with intractable focal epilepsy and no specific lesion, as determined by both MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and histopathology, outcome after resective surgery was polarized: 26 (37%) became seizure free (SF), and 27 (39%) were not helped. Eighteen (42%) of 43 standard temporal resections rendered patients SF, somewhat more than eight (30%) of 27 other procedures. To seek reliable prognostic factors, the subsequent correlative data compared features of the 26 SF patients with those of the 27 not helped. Although ictal semiology guided the site of surgical resection, it and other aspects of seizure and neurologic history failed to predict surgical outcome. However, two aspects of preoperative scalp EEGs correlated with SF outcomes: (a) among 25 patients in whom >50% of clinical seizures arose from the later resected lobe and no other origins, 18 (72%) became SF compared with seven (28%) of 25 with other ictal profiles; (b) 13 (93%) of 14 temporal lobe patients whose interictal and ictal EEGs lacked features indicative of multifocal epileptogenesis became SF compared with five (33%) of 15 with such components. The considered need for subdural (SD) EEG reduced SF outcome from 18 (90%) of 20 patients without SD to eight (24%) of 33 with SD; this likely reflected an insufficient congruity of ictal semiology and interictal and ictal scalp EEG for localizing epileptogenesis. Within this SD group, >50% of clinical seizure origins from a later resected lobe increased SF outcome somewhat: from two (14%) of 14 without this attribute to six (40%) of 15 with it; 100% of such origins increased SF outcome from two (12%) of 16 to six (46%) of 13.
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