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Systematic review
Resective epilepsy surgery and its impact on depression in adults: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and implications for future research


Background How epilepsy surgery influences the bidirectional relationship of epilepsy and depression remains poorly defined.

Method For a better understanding of this question, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of risk ratio on depression prevalence before and after epilepsy surgery, using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Three databases were comprehensively screened for all studies assessing depression before and after resective surgery in adult epileptic patients until 8 October 2022. Studies were included if depression was assessed before and after epilepsy surgery regardless of the time of follow-up. A total of 1917 studies were screened for eligibility and 91 full-texts up for inclusion; 35 studies were finally included, 25 studies and 2563 patients were included in main meta-analysis and 10 for exploratory analysis. Risk of bias was assessed using Risk Of Bias In Non-randomised Studies - of Interventions (ROBINS-I) from Cochrane. To derive the pooled depression rates before and after surgery, a meta-analysis with inversed-variance was performed using random-effects logistic models with Peto’s correction and a 95% CI. Heterogeneity was assessed with Cochran’s Q-test along with its derived measure of inconsistency I2.

Results Overall, the depression rates before and after resective epilepsy surgery were 0.70 (0.53 to 0.91) 95% CI, suggesting that the rate of depression at last follow-up evaluation tends to decrease after Resective Epilepsy Surgery (RES). Subgroup analysis suggest a positive long-term effect appears with a significant lower rates of depression already 6 months (0.61 (0.38 to 0.98)), after surgery which is maintained over time after 1 year (0.53 (0.31 to 0.90)), and after 2 years (0.62 (0.42 to 0.92)).

Conclusion This important finding should be taken in consideration before resective surgery for drug-resistant epilepsies. However, prospective studies should be conducted to characterise which patient, at the individual level, might be at risk of de novo or worsening of depression.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42022355386.

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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