Epilepsy surgery is under-utilized, but recent studies reach conflicting conclusions regarding whether epilepsy surgery rates are currently declining, increasing, or remaining steady. However, data in these prior studies are biased toward high-volume epilepsy centers, or originate from sources that do not disaggregate various procedure types. All major epilepsy surgery procedures were extracted from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Part B National Summary Data File and the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. Procedure rates, trends, and complications were analyzed, and patient-level predictors of postoperative adverse events were identified. Between 2000-2013, 6200 cases of epilepsy surgery were identified. Temporal lobectomy was the most common procedure (59% of cases), and most did not utilize electrocorticography (63-64%). Neither temporal nor extratemporal lobe epilepsy surgery rates changed significantly during the study period, suggesting no change in utilization. Adverse events, including major and minor complications, occurred in 15.3% of temporal lobectomies and 55.6% of hemispherectomies. Our findings suggest stagnant rates of both temporal and extratemporal lobe epilepsy surgery across U.S. surgical centers over the past decade. This finding contrasts with prior reports suggesting a recent dramatic decline in temporal lobectomy rates at high-volume epilepsy centers. We also observed higher rates of adverse events when both low- and high-volume centers were examined together, as compared to reports from high-volume centers alone. This is consistent with the presence of a volume-outcome relationship in epilepsy surgery.
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