Purpose: Medically intractable epilepsy is a chronic recurrence of seizures that often requires surgery to reduce or eliminate them. Although a reduction of seizures is the primary goal of hemispherectomy, the effect of surgery on motor and cognitive skills is also of importance. This review will provide a discussion of (1) evidence regarding motor and cognitive outcomes, (2) predictors of these outcomes, and (3) neural mechanisms responsible for preservation of function after hemispherectomy.
Summary of Key Points: Motor and cognitive outcomes after hemispherectomy are variable and depend on many predictors including etiology and duration of seizure disorder, age at the time of surgery, premorbid status, and postsurgical seizure control. A refined ipsilateral pathway may explain the preservation of motor function in some children.
Conclusions: A clear understanding of outcome predictors is important for planning effective rehabilitative programs after surgery.