Neuropsychologic assessment has long been an integral part of evaluation for surgical treatment of epilepsy. Neuropsychologic evaluation and consultation continue to be an important part of the assessment for operative intervention for epilepsy, but the role of neuropsychology has changed over time. At one time, neuropsychologic assessment assumed a diagnostic role in preoperative evaluation for epilepsy and also contributed to the lateralization and localization of the seizure focus. Sophisticated electroencephalographic techniques and especially neuroimaging have revolutionized the diagnosis and management in epilepsy surgical treatment centers. Although still helpful, neuropsychology no longer has a major role in lateralization or localization of seizure onset. This report describes neuropsychologic evaluation and its current role in surgical treatment of epilepsy. The characteristics and purposes of neuropsychologic assessment and Wada testing (intracarotid injection of amobarbital) are described. Current research on assessment of emotional adjustment and on its predictors before and after surgical therapy for epilepsy is reviewed. Finally, the risk for neuropsychologic decline after temporal lobectomy is discussed in light of recent research on preoperative memory, hippocampal pathologic lesions, and quantitative neuroimaging data.
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