Complications of invasive subdural electrode monitoring at St. Louis Children's Hospital, 1994-2005

James M. Johnston, Francesco T. Mangano, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, Sung Park Tae, Edwin Trevathan, Matthew D. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Object. The purpose of this study was to better define the incidence of complications associated with placement of subdural electrodes for localization of seizure foci and functional mapping in children. Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 112 consecutive patients (53 boys, 59 girls; mean age 10.9 years, range 10 months-21.7 years) with medically intractable epilepsy who underwent invasive monitoring at the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital between January 1994 and July 2005. There were 122 implantation procedures (85 grids and strips, 32 strips only, five grids only, four with additional depth electrodes), with a mean monitoring period of 7.1 days (range 2-21 days). Operative complications included the need for repeated surgery for additional electrode placement (5.7%); wound infection (2.4%); cerebrospinal fluid leak (1.6%); and subdural hematoma, symptomatic pneumocephalus, bone flap osteomyelitis, and strip electrode fracture requiring operative retrieval (one patient [0.8%] each). There were four cases of transient neurological deficit (3.3%) and no permanent deficit or death associated with invasive monitoring. Conclusions. Placement of subdural grid and strip electrodes for invasive video electroencephalographic monitoring is generally well tolerated in the pediatric population. The authors found that aggressive initial electrode coverage was not associated with higher rates of blood transfusion or perioperative complications, and reduced the frequency of repeated operations for placement of supplemental electrodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-347
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Complication
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Invasive monitoring
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Subdural electrode


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