Periventricular nodular heterotopias (PNHs) are malformations of cortical development related to neuronal migration disorders, frequently associated with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE). Stereo-electroencephalography (SEEG) is considered a very effective step of the presurgical evaluation, providing the recognition of the epileptogenic zone (EZ). At the same time, via the intracerebral electrodes it is possible to perform radiofrequency thermocoagulation (SEEG-guided RF-TC) with the aim of ablating and/or disrupting the EZ. The purpose of this study was to evaluate both the relationships between PNH and the EZ, and the efficacy of SEEG-guided RF-TC.
Twenty patients with DRE related to PNHs were studied. Inclusion criteria were the following: (1) patients with epilepsy and PNHs (unilateral or bilateral, single or multiple nodules) diagnosed on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); (2) SEEG recordings available as part of the presurgical investigations, with at least one intracerebral electrode inside the heterotopia; (3) complete surgical workup with SEEG-guided RF-TC and/or with traditional neurosurgery, with a follow-up of at least 12 months.
Complex and heterogenic epileptic networks were found in these patients. SEEG-guided RF-TC both into the nodules and/or the cortex was efficacious in the 76% of patients. Single or multiple, unilateral or bilateral PNHs are the most suitable for this procedure, whereas patients with PNHs associated with complex cortical malformations obtained excellent outcome only with traditional resective surgery.
Each patient had a specific epileptogenic network, independent from the number, size, or location of nodules and from the cortical malformation associated with. SEEG-guided RF-TC appears as a new and very effective diagnostic and therapeutic approach for DRE related to PNHs.