To evaluate the efficacy and safety of epilepsy surgery in infants.
Included were patients with epilepsy onset during the first year of life, epilepsy surgery before the age of 36 months at the study center and a minimum follow-up of 24 months after surgery. Patients who were surgically treated before the age of 12 months were compared with those between 13 and 36 months. Group differences with respect to efficacy (seizure outcomes and developmental progress measured by the social interaction quotient, SIQ) as well as safety (i. e. peri-operative complication rates) were analyzed.
A total of 20 patients (10 girls) were included: 10 (five girls) were operated on as infants (median age at surgery 9.0 months, median disease duration prior to surgery 5.0 months) and 10 (5 girls) were operated on as toddlers (median age at surgery 24.0 months, median disease duration prior to surgery 18.0 months). Favorable seizure outcomes (Wieser 1a and 1) were seen in 80% (8/10) of the infants and 60.0% (6/10) of toddlers. Developmental progress was most evident in infants who were seizure-free and off medication (median SIQ 85.5 versus 63.0 in the toddler group). There were no differences between the two groups with respect to safety aspects.
Despite several limitations due to the small number of patients included, our results are in favor of early epilepsy surgery in infants with drug-resistant epilepsy.