Precuneal epilepsy: Clinical features and surgical outcome

Academic Article


  • Objective The precuneus is a complex and highly connected structure located in the medial portion of the superior parietal lobule. The clinical presentation of precuneal epilepsy is poorly characterized, mostly because these patients have seldom been distinguished from those with other types of parietal lobe epilepsy. The present study aims to improve the understanding of precuneal epilepsy by detailing its clinical features and surgical outcomes. Methods Six previously unreported cases of drug-resistant precuneal epilepsy investigated between 2002 and 2014 were retrospectively studied. Seizure focus was confirmed by presence of a lesion, intracranial monitoring, or post-operative seizure control when applicable. Results Seizures arising from the precuneus have heterogeneous presentations, including body movement sensation, visual auras, eye movements, vestibular manifestations, and complex motor behaviors. Two patients with an anterior precuneus lesion described body movement sensations whereas two others with a posterior precuneus lesion experienced visual symptoms. Two of the five patients who underwent epilepsy surgery achieved good seizure control (Engel IA). One patient underwent gamma knife surgery with an Engel IV outcome. Surgical complications included contralateral visual field impairment, limb hypoesthesia and hemispatial neglect. One patient developed late-onset epilepsia partialis continua from a Rolandic subdural grid-related contusion. Significance In absence of a clear precuneal epileptogenic lesion, recognition of a precuneal focus is challenging. Magnetoencephalography may sometimes localize the generator but invasive EEG remains in well-selected cases necessary to identify the seizure focus. Surgical failures may be explained by the widespread connectivity of the precuneus with distant and adjacent structures. Different ictal manifestations of precuneal epilepsy in this series provide a clinical correlate to the described functional subdivisions of the precuneus.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Harroud A; Boucher O; Tran TPY; Harris L; Hall J; Dubeau F; Mohamed I; Bouthillier A; Nguyen DK
  • Start Page

  • 77
  • End Page

  • 82
  • Volume

  • 73