Lobectomy (Frontal and Temporal Lobe) Surgery for Children

What Is a Lobectomy?

Parts of the Brain Diagram | Children's PittsburghA lobectomy is the removal of an entire lobe of the brain. Temporal lobectomy is the most common type of surgery for temporal lobe epilepsy and frontal lobectomy is the second.

Lobectomies are the most successful type of epilepsy surgery. 60 to 70 percent of children who have had temporal lobectomies are free of seizures that impair consciousness or cause abnormal movements.

The success rates for frontal lobectomies are not as good as those for temporal lobectomies. But at least 70 percent of children who have had a frontal lobectomy greatly improve their seizure control. Most children continue to take seizure medicines, but they may need a less medicine.

Contact the Epilepsy Surgery Program at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

To make a referral, schedule an appointment, or request an evaluation for a child or teen, contact us at 412-692-6928 or email epilepsysurgery@chp.edu.

What to Expect Before Lobectomy Surgery

Children are given a general anesthesia prior to the surgery. To prepare for the surgery, part of your child’s hair will be shaved.

What Happens During a Lobectomy?

An incision will be made and a craniotomy will be performed (removal of a piece of the skull that will be replaced at the end of the surgery).

Intraoperative intracranial EEG monitoring will be done during the surgery to help the surgeon pinpoint the exact location of the areas of the brain causing the seizures. The surgeon will remove this part of the brain during surgery.

At the end of the procedure, the dura (membrane covering the brain) will be closed, the skull replaced, and the scalp sutured closed.

What to Expect After Lobectomy Surgery

Your child will be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) overnight or until he or she is medically stable enough to go to another nursing unit. While still in the ICU, your child will be observed continuously and blood pressure, pulse and respiration will be checked frequently.

Once out of the ICU your child will probably require an additional five to seven days of hospitalization. Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation may be necessary to optimize your child’s lobectomy recovery. Your child will be evaluated carefully over the next few months to see what effect the surgery had on the seizures and whether there are persistent complications.

Potential Complications of Lobectomy in Children

Temporary side effects of lobectomy may include:

  • Scalp numbness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Difficulties with memory and speech
  • Auras (feelings that signal the onset of a seizure)

It is rare for these side effects to persist.