Repeat resective surgery in complex pediatric refractory epilepsy: Lessons learned

Regina S. Bower, Elaine C. Wirrell, Laurence J. Eckel, Lily C. Wong-Kisiel, Katherine C. Nickels, Nicholas M. Wetjen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


OBJECT: Resection can sometimes offer the best chance of meaningful seizure reduction in children with medically intractable epilepsy. However, when surgery fails to achieve the desired outcome, reoperation may be an option. The authors sought to investigate outcomes following resective reoperation in pediatric patients with refractory epilepsy, excluding tumoral epilepsies. Differences in preoperative workup between surgeries are analyzed to identify factors influencing outcomes and complications in this complex group. METHODS: Medical records were reviewed for all pediatric patients undergoing a repeat resective surgery for refractory epilepsy at the authors' institution between 2005 and 2012. Tumor and vascular etiologies were excluded. Preoperative evaluation and outcomes were analyzed for each surgery and compared. RESULTS: Ten patients met all inclusion criteria. The median age at seizure onset was 4.5 months. Preoperative MRI revealed no lesion in 30%. Nonspecific gliosis and cortical dysplasia were the most common pathologies. The majority of preoperative workups included MRI, video-electroencephalography (EEG), and SISCOM. Intracranial EEG was performed for 60% for the first presurgical evaluation and 70% for the second evaluation. The goal of surgery was palliative in 4 patients with widespread cortical dysplasia. The final Engel outcome was Class I in 50%. The rate of favorable outcome (Engel Class I-II) was 70%. The complication rate for the initial surgery was 10%. However, the rate increased to 50% with the second surgery, and 3 of these 5 complications were pseudomeningoceles requiring shunt placement (2 of the 3 patients underwent hemispherotomy). CONCLUSIONS: Resective reoperation for pediatric refractory epilepsy has a high rate of favorable outcome and should be considered in appropriate candidates, even as a palliative measure. Intracranial EEG monitoring should be considered on initial workup in cases where the results of imaging or EEG studies are ambiguous or conflicting. Epilepsy secondary to cortical dysplasia, especially if the dysplasia is not seen clearly on MRI, can be difficult to cure surgically. Therefore, in these cases, as large a resection as can be safely accomplished should be done, particularly when the goal is palliative. The rate of complications, particularly pseudomeningocele ultimately requiring shunt placement, is much higher following reoperation, and patients should be counseled accordingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2015


  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Focal cortical dysplasia
  • Pediatric epilepsy
  • Presurgical evaluation
  • Reoperation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Repeat resective surgery in complex pediatric refractory epilepsy: Lessons learned'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this