Literature lacks studies investigating the cortical generation of sleep spindles in drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) and how they evolve after resection of the epileptogenic zone (EZ). Here, we examined sleep EEGs of children with focal DRE who became seizure-free after focal epilepsy surgery, and aimed to investigate the changes in the spindle generation before and after the surgery using low-density scalp EEG and electrical source imaging (ESI).
We analyzed N2-sleep EEGs from 19 children with DRE before and after surgery. We identified slow (8–12 Hz) and fast spindles (13–16 Hz), computed their spectral features and cortical generators through ESI and computed their distance from the EZ and irritative zone (IZ). We performed two-way ANOVA testing the effect of spindle type (slow vs. fast) and surgical phase (pre-surgery vs. post-surgery) on each feature.
Power, frequency and cortical activation of slow spindles increased after surgery (p < 0.005), while this was not seen for fast spindles. Before surgery, the cortical generators of slow spindles were closer to the EZ (57.3 vs. 66.2 mm, p = 0.007) and IZ (41.3 vs. 55.5 mm, p = 0.02) than fast spindle generators.
Our data indicate alterations in the EEG slow spindles after resective epilepsy surgery. Fast spindle generation on the contrary did not change after surgery. Although the study is limited by its retrospective nature, lack of healthy controls, and reduced cortical spatial sampling, our findings suggest a spatial relationship between the slow spindles and the epileptogenic generators.