Cortical thickness asymmetries and surgical outcome in neocortical epilepsy

David O. Kamson, Vinod K. Pilli, Eishi Asano, Jeong Won Jeong, Sandeep Sood, Csaba Juhász, Harry T. Chugani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose We evaluated if cortical thickness measures were associated with surgical outcome in patients with non-lesional neocortical epilepsy. Methods Twenty-one young patients (age: 2.4–19.7 years) with epilepsy of neocortical origin and normal MRI underwent two-stage epilepsy surgery with subdural EEG monitoring. Cortical thickness was measured on presurgical volumetric MRI using the FreeSurfer software. The prognostic value of hemispheric and lobar/regional cortical thickness measures for 1-year and 2-year post-surgical seizure outcome has been analyzed. Results At one-year follow-up, 14 patients (67%) were seizure-free. Hemispheric and frontal lobe cortical thickness showed no/minimal asymmetry in seizure-free patients but thinner cortex ipsilateral to the seizure focus in those with recurrent seizures (p = 0.02). More robust differences were found in patients ≥ 6 years of age (p = 0.006 for frontal asymmetries), whose cortical thickness asymmetries remained prognostic for 2-year post-surgical outcome (p = 0.007). By using an optimal cutoff threshold based on a receiver operating characteristic analysis, mean hemispheric asymmetry predicted one-year seizure freedom with 93% sensitivity and 71% specificity in the whole group, and with 100% sensitivity and 92% specificity in patients ≥ 6 years of age. Conclusion In patients with neocortical epilepsy and normal MRI, neocortical thinning in the epileptic hemisphere, particularly in frontal cortex, is associated with poor surgical outcome. Although these results require validation in a larger cohort prospectively, these data suggest that presurgical evaluation of cortical thickness may assist in identification of patients at high risk for surgical failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - Sep 15 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical thickness
  • Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Frontal lobe
  • MRI
  • Surgical outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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