Table of Contents
Epilepsy Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 303624, 10 pages
Review Article

Surgical Treatment for Refractory Epilepsy: Review of Patient Evaluation and Surgical Options

Department of Neurology, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, 500 West Thomas Road, Suite 720, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA

Received 2 October 2010; Revised 4 February 2011; Accepted 22 March 2011

Academic Editor: Giangennaro Coppola

Copyright © 2011 Kristen M. Kelly and Steve S. Chung. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Treatment of epilepsy often imposes an exposure to various antiepileptic drugs and requires long-term commitment and compliance from the patient. Although many new medications are now available for the treatment of epilepsy, approximately 30% of epilepsy patients still experience recurrent seizures and many experience undesirable side effects. Treatment of epilepsy requires a multidisciplinary approach. For those patients with medically refractory seizures, surgical treatment has increased in prevalence as techniques and devices improve. With increased utilization, proper patient selection has become crucial in evaluating appropriateness of surgical intervention. Epilepsy syndromes in which surgery has shown to be effective include mesial temporal sclerosis, cortical dysplasia, many pediatric epilepsy syndromes, and vascular malformations. Monitoring in an epilepsy monitoring unit with continuous scalp or intracranial EEG is an important step in localization of seizure focus. MRI is the standard imaging technique for evaluation of anatomy. However, other imaging studies including SPECT and PET have become more widespread, often offering increased diagnostic value in select situations. In addition, as an alternative or adjunct to surgical resection, implantable devices such as vagus nerve stimulators, deep brain stimulators, and direct brain stimulators could be useful in seizure treatment.