Neuropsychiatric complications after temporal lobe limbic system surgery.
Although control of seizure activity is the main goal of temporal lobectomies for complex partial epilepsy, the results of surgery must be viewed within the larger context of possible ramifications of limbic system disruption. The neuropsychiatric complications may be significant and influence the patient's perceived qualify of life, thus detracting from the benefits of seizure control. It is apparent from the previous studies that the modalities affected are influenced by the laterality of the resection, with left-sided lobectomies more often affecting verbal memory and learning, whereas right-sided resections may cause visual/spatial memory and cognitive declines. Preoperative neuropsychologic testing may help to predict these possible complications. General psychosocial function, memory, and cognition all seem to be less affected when complete seizure control is attained, with nearly 80% experiencing no significant change in neuropsychologic testing and the gain and losses being equal in magnitude. Also, younger patients and those with a shorter history of seizure activity may fare better after surgery because of a greater capacity for neuronal plasticity to subserve these functions. These findings support the contention that early diagnosis and surgical treatment may help to minimize potential neuropsychiatric complications in conjunction with improved postoperative seizure control.
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