Brain surgery can be a successful way of treating epilepsy. Surgery is most likely to be considered when someone with epilepsy:
- Has documented epileptic seizures and not pseudoseizures.
- Has already tried the standard medicines without success (or has bad reactions to them).
- Has seizures that always start in just one part of the brain.
- Has seizures in a part of the brain that can be removed without damaging important things like speech, memory or eyesight.
Surgery for epilepsy is a delicate, complicated operation. It must be performed by a skilled, experienced surgical team. It is usually done at special medical centers that treat patients with epilepsy rather than at local hospitals. In addition to operations that remove a small part of the brain where seizures begin, other procedures may be done to interrupt the spread of electrical energy in the brain.
People who are going to have epilepsy surgery may have several special tests first. In some cases, electrodes have to be implanted in a separate operation to locate seizure sites deep in the brain. Sometimes these tests take days or even weeks to complete.
In some cases, the patient may be awake during part of the operation. This is not usually the case with small children. This is possible because the brain does not feel pain. Having the patient awake helps the doctors make sure that important parts of the brain are not damaged.
Afterwards, some seizure medications may have to be continued, usually for a year or two. Then, if no further seizures occur, the medicine may be slowly withdrawn. At this point, chances of living free of seizures and free of medication are good. However, many people will have to continue with medication and some do not benefit from surgery.
Additional Information about Treatment:
Additional epilepsy information is available on these pages:
This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply
to you and your specific medical needs. This information should not be used in
place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or
health care professional. Communicate promptly with your physician or other
health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.
Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or
health care professional.