Impact of epilepsy surgery on quality of life: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Lubna Shakhatreh, Emma Foster, Pakeeran Siriratnam, Andrew Neal, Patrick W. Carney, Graeme D. Jackson, Terence J. O'Brien, Patrick Kwan, Zhibin Chen, Zanfina Ademi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Improved quality of life (QoL) is an important outcome goal following epilepsy surgery. This study aims to quantify change in QoL for adults with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) who undergo epilepsy surgery, and to explore clinicodemographic factors associated with these changes. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis using Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. All studies reporting pre- and post-epilepsy surgery QoL scores in adults with DRE via validated instruments were included. Meta-analysis assessed the postsurgery change in QoL. Meta-regression assessed the effect of postoperative seizure outcomes on postoperative QoL as well as change in pre- and postoperative QoL scores. A total of 3774 titles and abstracts were reviewed, and ultimately 16 studies, comprising 1182 unique patients, were included. Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory–31 item (QOLIE-31) meta-analysis included six studies, and QOLIE-89 meta-analysis included four studies. Postoperative change in raw score was 20.5 for QOLIE-31 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 10.9–30.1, I2 = 95.5) and 12.1 for QOLIE-89 (95% CI = 8.0–16.1, I2 = 55.0%). This corresponds to clinically meaningful QOL improvements. Meta-regression demonstrated a higher postoperative QOLIE-31 score as well as change in pre- and postoperative QOLIE-31 score among studies of cohorts with higher proportions of patients with favorable seizure outcomes. At an individual study level, preoperative absence of mood disorders, better preoperative cognition, fewer trials of antiseizure medications before surgery, high levels of conscientiousness and openness to experience at the baseline, engagement in paid employment before and after surgery, and not being on antidepressants following surgery were associated with improved postoperative QoL. This study demonstrates the potential for epilepsy surgery to provide clinically meaningful improvements in QoL, as well as identifies clinicodemographic factors associated with this outcome. Limitations include substantial heterogeneity between individual studies and high risk of bias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-1721
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • drug-resistant epilepsy
  • epilepsy surgery
  • quality of life
  • seizure outcome

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