Role of MRI in patient selection for surgical treatment of intractable epilepsy in infancy

Razan Daghistani, Elysa Widjaja*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Epilepsy surgery is an effective treatment in selected patients with localization-related intractable epilepsy. The success of epilepsy surgery is in part dependent upon identification of a lesion on MRI. In infants, the surgical epileptogenic substrates include focal cortical dysplasia (FCD), hemimegalencephaly, tuberous sclerosis complex, Sturge Weber syndrome, hypoxic-ischemic or cerebrovascular injury and low-grade tumor. The sensitivity of MRI in identifying the epileptogenic substrate is influenced by the nature of the epileptogenic substrate, MRI technique and expertise of the interpreting physician. The MRI features of some lesions such as FCD may differ in infants compared to children and adults; the white matter adjacent to FCD may demonstrate lower T2 and higher T1 signal in some infants due to premature myelination, while in others, the white matter demonstrates higher T2 or lower T1 signal due to demyelination, dysmyelination or gliosis, similar to children and adults. The appearances of some lesions, such as FCD, may change with time, due to brain maturation or seizure related changes. MRI for patients with localization-related intractable epilepsy should have high-resolution, multiplanar and multisequence. In infants, volumetric T1 and high-resolution T2 imaging are recommended. FLAIR and proton density sequences are less helpful in infants due to lack of myelin in the white matter. The physician interpreting the scan should be familiar with the imaging appearances of epileptogenic substrates and may need to review the scan more than once if a lesion is not seen on initial inspection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-705
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Development
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Infants
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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