Imaging surgical epilepsy in children

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Epilepsy surgery rests heavily upon magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Technical developments have brought significantly improved efficacy of MR imaging in detecting and assessing surgical epileptogenic lesions, while more clinical experience has brought better definition of the pathological groups.


MRI is fairly efficient in identifying developmental, epilepsy-associated tumors such as ganglioglioma (with its variants gangliocytoma and desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma), the complex, simple and nonspecific forms of dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor, and the rare pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma. The efficacy of MR imaging is not as good for the diagnosis of focal cortical dysplasia (FCD), as it does not necessarily correlate with histopathological FCD subtypes and does not show the real extent of the dysplasia which may even be missed in a high percentage of cases. Further developments with better, multichannel coils, higher magnetic fields, specific sequences, and different approaches (such as diffusion tensor imaging) for depicting the structural abnormalities may hopefully improve this efficacy. A general review of the MR features of the diverse pathologies concerned with epilepsy surgery in the pediatric context is provided with illustrative images.

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