The evaluation of FDG-PET imaging for epileptogenic focus localization in patients with MRI positive and MRI negative temporal lobe epilepsy

Beril Gok, George Jallo, Reza Hayeri, Richard Wahl, Nafi Aygun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Introduction: We studied the contribution of interictal FDG-PET ([18 F] fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography) in epileptic focus identification in temporal lobe epilepsy patients with positive, equivocal and negative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Methods: Ninety-eight patients who underwent surgical treatment for drug resistant temporal lobe epilepsy after neuropsychological evaluation, scalp video EEG monitoring, FDG-PET, MRI and/or long-term intracranial EEG and with >12 months clinical follow-up were included in this study. FDG-PET findings were compared to MRI, histopathology, scalp video EEG and long-term intracranial EEG monitoring. Results: FDG-PET lateralized the seizure focus in 95 % of MRI positive, 69 % of MRI equivocal and 84 % of MRI negative patients. There was no statistically significant difference between the surgical outcomes among the groups with Engel class I and II outcomes achieved in 86 %, 86 %, 84 % of MRI positive, equivocal and negative temporal lobe epilepsy patients, respectively. The patients with positive unilateral FDG-PET demonstrated excellent postsurgical outcomes, with 96 % Engel class I and II. Histopathology revealed focal lesions in 75 % of MRI equivocal, 84 % of MRI positive, and 23 % of MRI negative temporal lobe epilepsy cases. Conclusion: FDG-PET is an accurate noninvasive method in lateralizing the epileptogenic focus in temporal lobe epilepsy, especially in patients with normal or equivocal MRIs, or non-lateralized EEG monitoring. Very subtle findings in MRI are often associated with histopathological lesions and should be described in MRI reports. The patients with negative or equivocal MRI temporal lobe epilepsy are good surgical candidates with comparable postsurgical outcomes to patients with MRI positive temporal lobe epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-550
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2013


  • MRI
  • Mesial temporal sclerosis
  • Surgery
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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