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OBJECTIVES— To examine prospectively the frequency
and nature of psychiatric symptoms seen in patients during the first
three months after temporal lobe surgery for chronic intractable
epilepsy and in addition to study the relation between presurgical
mental state, laterality of surgery, and postsurgical seizure and
METHOD—A consecutive series of 60 patients being assessed for temporal lobe surgery for intractable epilepsy were studied. They were interviewed before surgery and at six weeks and again at three months after operation.
RESULTS—At six weeks after surgery half of those with no psychopathology preoperatively had developed symptoms of anxiety or depression and 45% of all patients were noted to have increased emotional lability. By three months after surgery emotional lability and anxiety symptoms had diminished whereas depressive states tended to persist. Patients with a left hemispheric focus were more likely to experience persisting anxiety.
CONCLUSION—The early months after surgery for epilepsy are characterised by the relatively common presence of psychiatric symptoms. It is proposed that presurgical and early postsurgical neuropsychiatric involvement in programmes of surgery for epilepsy will help to improve the quality of the treatment package offered to patients.