Failed epilepsy surgery deserves a second chance

Chrystal M. Reed, Sandra Dewar, Itzhak Fried, Jerome Engel, Dawn Eliashiv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Resective epilepsy surgery has been shown to have up to 70–80% success rates in patients with intractable seizure disorder. Around 20–30% of patients with Engel Classification III and IV will require reevaluation for further surgery. Common reasons for first surgery failures include incomplete resection of seizure focus, incorrect identification of seizure focus and recurrence of tumor. Patient and methods Clinical chart review of seventeen patients from a single adult comprehensive epilepsy program who underwent reoperation from 2007 to 2014 was performed. High resolution Brain MRI, FDG-PET, Neuropsychometric testing were completed in all cases in both the original surgery and the second procedure. Postoperative outcomes were confirmed by prospective telephone follow up and verified by review of the patient's electronic medical records. Outcomes were classified according to the modified Engel classification system: Engel classes I and II are considered good outcomes. Results A total of seventeen patients (involving 10 females) were included in the study. The average age of patients at second surgery was 42 (range 23–64 years). Reasons for reoperation included: incomplete first resection (n = 13) and recurrence of tumor (n = 4). Median time between the first and second surgery was 60 months. After the second surgery, ten of the seventeen patients (58.8%) achieved seizure freedom (Engel Class I), in agreement with other published reports. Of the ten patients who were Engel Class I, seven required extension of the previous resection margins, while three had surgery for recurrence of previously partially resected tumor. Conclusions We conclude that since the risk of complications from reoperation is low and the outcome, for some, is excellent, consideration of repeat surgery is justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Failed epilepsy surgery
  • Repeat epilepsy surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Failed epilepsy surgery deserves a second chance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this