March 31, 2021

Psychological Status After Insulo-Opercular Resection in Patients With Epilepsy: Depression, Anxiety, and Quality of Life

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Insular epilepsy is increasingly recognized in epilepsy surgery centers. Recent studies suggest that resection of an epileptogenic zone that involves the insula as a treatment for drug-resistant seizures is associated with good outcomes in terms of seizure control. However, despite the existing evidence of a role of the insula in emotions and affective information processing, the long-term psychological outcome of patients undergoing these surgeries remain poorly documented.

A group of 27 adults (18 women) who underwent an insulo-opercular resection (in combination with a part of the temporal lobe in 10, and of the frontal lobe in 5) as part of epilepsy surgery at our center between 2004 and 2019 completed psychometric questionnaires to assess depression (Beck Depression Inventory – 2nd edition; BDI-II), anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Trait Version; STAI-T), and quality of life (Patient Weighted Quality of Life In Epilepsy; QOLIE-10-P). Scores were compared to those of patients who had standard temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) surgery with similar socio-demographic and disease characteristics. Seizure control after insular epilepsy surgery was comparable to that observed after TLE surgery, with a majority of patients reporting being seizure free (insular: 63.0%; temporal: 63.2%) or having rare disabling seizures (insular: 7.4%; temporal: 18.4%) at the time of questionnaire completion. Statistical comparisons revealed no significant group difference on scores of depression, anxiety, or quality of life. Hemisphere or extent of insular resection had no significant effect on the studied variables.

In the total sample, employment status and seizure control, but not location of surgery, significantly predicted quality of life. Self-reported long-term psychological status after insulo-opercular resection as part of epilepsy surgery thus appears to be similar to that observed after TLE surgery, which is commonly performed in epilepsy surgery centers.

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