The use of stereotactic radiosurgery to treat intractable childhood partial epilepsy

Catalina Dunoyer, John Ragheb, Trevor Resnick, Luis Alvarez, Prasanna Jayakar, Nolan Altman, Aizik Wolf, Michael Duchowny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose: Although conventional surgery is presently used to treat seizures of temporolimbic and neocortical origin, deep-seated lesions are often associated with morbidity. Stereotactic radiosurgery is a noninvasive procedure that effectively treats patients with vascular malformations and brain tumors, but its efficacy for epileptogenic foci is limited, especially in children. Methods: Between 1995 and 1999, four candidates who had medically uncontrolled seizures and localized seizure foci were selected for stereotactic radiosurgery, with a mean age of 9.75 years at the time of surgery (range, 4-17 years). Seizure foci were identified on the basis of ictal and interictal video-EEG. Magnetic resonance (MR) images were obtained before and after surgery. Ictal single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) was performed by using stabilized hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime (HMPAO; 300 microcuries/kg) with early injection after electrographic ictal onset. The clinical features of the patients are given. All radiosurgical procedures were performed with the gamma knife unit with the Leksell stereotactic frame, stereotactic MRI imaging, and the Gamma Plan workstation. Seizure outcome was scored according to Engel's classification. Results: Two patients had hypothalamic hamartoma (HH), and two had neocortical epilepsy. At mean follow-up of 39.2 months (range, 26-69 months), two patients were seizure free, one with a HH and one with a suggestive developmental tumor in the insular cortex by MRI findings. The other patient with HH had 90% reduction of seizures. One patient with a widespread seizure focus that involved the motor strip was unimproved. The two patients with HH also exhibited markedly improved neurobehavioral status after surgery. There were no significant complications of radiosurgical therapy. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that gamma knife surgery is a potentially valuable treatment modality for children with medically intractable epilepsy due to a well-localized seizure focus that is difficult to excise by conventional techniques or for whom they are deemed unsuitable. More widespread application in childhood epilepsy should be investigated in larger series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-300
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood epilepsy
  • Gamma knife
  • Hypothalamic hamartoma
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The use of stereotactic radiosurgery to treat intractable childhood partial epilepsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this