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Hippocampal resection length and memory outcome in selective epilepsy surgery
  1. Christoph Helmstaedter1,
  2. Sandra Roeske2,
  3. Sabine Kaaden2,
  4. Christian E Elger1,
  5. Johannes Schramm2
  1. 1Department of Epileptology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  2. 2Department of Neurosurgery, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor C Helmstaedter, Department of Epileptology, University Hospital Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Str 25, D-53105 Bonn, Germany; c.helmstaedter{at}


Objective In temporal lobe epilepsy surgery, there is a trend towards becoming more selective in order to achieve seizure control with an optimal neuropsychological outcome. The present study evaluated whether mesial resection length matters for memory outcome after selective amygdalo-hippocampectomy (SAH). Therefore, a sub-analysis of the larger SFB/TR3/A1 multicentre randomised trial on seizure outcome and mesial resection length in temporal lobe surgery was performed.

Methods A homogeneous group of 67 selectively operated patients with hippocampal sclerosis as the sole pathology were allocated to a short (2.5 cm, n=34) or a long (3.5 cm, n=33) mesial resection. Repeated memory assessment and three-dimensional MRI data sets served as dependent within group variables, and intraoperatively determined resection lengths (short/long), resected hippocampal volumes (small/large) and side of surgery were independent between group variables.

Results Resection length did not have a significant effect on seizure or on memory outcome. The resected hippocampal volume also did not affect seizure outcome but it did make a difference with regard to memory outcome. Outcome in verbal learning and memory was poorer after resection of larger left hippocampal volumes. Figural memory outcome was poorer with larger resected volumes on either side.

Interpretation The data indicate that in SAH, mesial resection length and resected volumes have no differential effect on seizure outcome. The findings on memory outcome are best explained by suggesting that hippocampal volumes take the degree of preoperative pathology into account whereas resection length does not. This suggests resection of non-pathological functional tissues as the basis for memory outcome after SAH.

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  • CH and SR contributed equally to this work.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): Transregio SFB TR3 A1.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics commission of the University Clinic of Bonn (#237/00).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.