Outcomes of treating low-grade epilepsy-associated tumors (LEATs) in the temporal lobe with MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) remain poorly characterized. This study aimed to compare the safety and effectiveness of treating temporal lobe LEATs with MRgLITT versus open resection in a consecutive single-institution series. We reviewed all adult patients with epilepsy that underwent surgery for temporal lobe LEATs at our institution between 2002 and 2019, during which time we switched from open surgery to MRgLITT. Surgical outcome was categorized by Engel classification at >12mo follow-up and Kaplan-Meir analysis of seizure freedom. We recorded hospital length of stay, adverse events, and available neuropsychological results. Of 14 total patients, 7 underwent 9 open resections, 6 patients underwent MRgLITT alone, and 1 patient underwent an open resection followed by MRgLITT. Baseline group demographics differed and were notable for preoperative duration of epilepsy of 9.0 years (range 1-36) for open resection versus 14.0 years (range 2-34) for MRgLITT. Median length of stay was one day shorter for MRgLITT compared to open resection (p=<.0001). There were no major adverse events in the series, but there were fewer minor adverse events following MRgLITT. At 12mo follow-up, 50% (5/10) of patients undergoing open resection and 57% (4/7) of patients undergoing MRgLITT were free of disabling seizures (Engel I). When comparing patients who underwent similar procedures in the dominant temporal lobe, patients undergoing MRgLITT had fewer and milder material-specific neuropsychological declines than patients undergoing open resections. In this small series, MRgLITT was comparably safe and effective relative to open resection of temporal lobe LEATs.
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