Innovative surgical treatments for epilepsy
Epilepsy is a general term to describe a grouping of disorders that involve episodes of disturbances in the electrical signaling of the brain. These disorders are characterized by episodes of loss or impairment of consciousness. These are often referred to as seizures.
Medications are typically prescribed first to eliminate or control seizures. However, epilepsy surgery is considered when antiepileptic medications fail to control seizures effectively.
Epilepsy surgery is most often performed under general anesthesia and involves making a small opening in the skull to access the brain. The surgeon may require the patient to be awake for a portion of the procedure to determine which parts of the brain control language and movement.
There are four primary types of epilepsy surgery. These include:
Temporal Lobe Resection – Removing a portion of the brain that is causing the seizures. This procedure is highly successful for seizures that start in the temporal lobe.
Multiple Subpial Transection – Making incisions to seal off part of the brain, if the portion of the brain causing the seizures is too vital to remove. In this case, surgeons may make a series of cuts to help isolate that section of the brain, preventing the seizures from moving into other areas of the brain.
Corpus Callosotomy – Separating the connection between the brain’s hemispheres. The surgery severs the network of neural connections between the right and left halves of the brain. This surgery is used primarily in children who have severe seizures that start in one hemisphere and spread to the other side.
Hemispherectomy – Removing the outer layer of half of the brain. This is the most radical type of epilepsy surgery. The procedure is used in children who have seizures because of damage to just one half of the brain. This occurs in rare congenital conditions.