Potential surgical therapies for drug-resistant focal epilepsy

Wei Shan, Xuewei Mao, Xiu Wang, Robert E. Hogan, Qun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Drug-resistant focal epilepsy (DRFE), defined by failure of two antiepileptic drugs, affects 30% of epileptic patients. Epilepsy surgeries are alternative options for this population. Preoperative evaluation is critical to include potential candidates, and to choose the most appropriate procedure to maximize efficacy and simultaneously minimize side effects. Traditional procedures involve open skull surgeries and epileptic focus resection. Alternatively, neuromodulation surgeries use peripheral nerve or deep brain stimulation to reduce the activities of epileptogenic focus. With the advanced improvement of laser-induced thermal therapy (LITT) technique and its utilization in neurosurgery, magnetic resonance-guided LITT (MRgLITT) emerges as a minimal invasive approach for drug-resistant focal epilepsy. In the present review, we first introduce drug-resistant focal epilepsy and summarize the indications, pros and cons of traditional surgical procedures and neuromodulation procedures. And then, focusing on MRgLITT, we thoroughly discuss its history, its technical details, its safety issues, and current evidence on its clinical applications. A case report on MRgLITT is also included to illustrate the preoperational evaluation. We believe that MRgLITT is a promising approach in selected patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy, although large prospective studies are required to evaluate its efficacy and side effects, as well as to implement a standardized protocol for its application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1011
Number of pages18
JournalCNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • epileptogenic
  • laser-induced thermal therapy
  • magnetic resonance-guided
  • neuromodulation


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