Surgery for epilepsy is generally considered a last resort when other treatment options such as anti-seizure medications have failed to be effective. Most patients hesitate when it comes to getting surgery for epilepsy. This is because of a general fear of undergoing surgery and sometimes, the neurologist may not have even suggested surgery as a viable option. However, advancements in epilepsy surgery have led to more effective and safer procedures. If you or your loved one is considering surgery for epilepsy then you may be having several questions. Here, we have discussed some of the common doubts that you may have regarding epilepsy surgery.
When Should I Consider Surgery For Epilepsy?
There are certain circumstances under which you could consider surgery for epilepsy. These include:
- When your medicines are not working: This is the scenario in which you have taken up to 2-3 medicines but they have not been able to control your seizures. Around 40% of individuals with epilepsy do not respond to medications. Thus, in such a situation, epilepsy surgery should be considered.
- You have focal epilepsy that is drug-resistant: Having focal epilepsy means that seizures always begin in the same region. Surgery performed for focal seizures usually has the highest chance of success. On the contrary, if your seizures are originating from multiple areas of your brain or the surgery poses a high risk to brain function then your options for surgery become limited.
- The seizures are affecting the different aspects of your life such as social relationships, and your ability to perform day-to-day activities, and are thus interfering with your quality of life.
- People having tonic seizures or drop attacks can also benefit from having epilepsy surgery.
- If the seizures pose a serious threat of injury, SUDEP, or status epilepticus.
If you are considering surgery for your epilepsy, it is best to consult with a renowned neurosurgeon who can guide you about the treatment and evaluate if you would be a suitable candidate for it.
Knowing all possible treatment options for your epilepsy is important so that you make an informed decision for your health. If you feel like you have not received all treatment options for your epilepsy, you can avail a second opinion from our neuroscience board consisting of qualified neurologists and neurosurgeons. This can help you get the best solution for your epilepsy.
What Are The Different Types Of Epilepsy Surgery?
Though there are different surgical procedures for treating epilepsy, your neurosurgeon will have to analyze various factors such as your age, physical condition, and the region in the brain where the seizures start before starting surgical treatment for epilepsy. You will be under general anesthesia during the surgery.
Some of the different types of surgery for epilepsy are:
1. Resective surgery
A common procedure, a resective surgery involves removing tissue from the region of the brain where the seizures start. Usually, resective surgery will be performed on any of the temporal lobes. This region of the brain is involved in functions such as language comprehension, memory, and emotions.
2. Deep brain stimulation
Deep brain stimulation uses a device that is permanently implanted in the brain. Electric signals released from this gadget stop seizure-inducing activity. The neurosurgeon will use the MRI to perform this surgery and the electrical pulse is sent by a generator that is implanted in the chest.
During this type of epilepsy surgery, the neurosurgeon will remove the cerebral cortex on one side of the brain. This surgery is recommended for children who have seizures originating from multiple locations in one hemisphere. Such seizures occur because of a condition present in infancy or at birth
Due to the advances in surgery for epilepsy, now you have many safer and far more effective surgical options for treating epilepsy. The latest treatment methods also have fewer side effects than conventional ones. Some of these are:
- Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT): This is a less invasive epilepsy surgery as compared to the more conventional resective surgery. In this, the neurosurgeon uses a laser to target and destroy the tissue in the affected region of the brain. Laser interstitial thermal therapy is a minimally invasive surgery and during this surgery, a tiny incision is made in the scalp. This allows the laser wire to be threaded through a catheter and guided inside the head to the affected region of the brain. LITT offers many benefits over a standard resection surgery such as fewer side effects and faster recovery. It allows the affected part of the brain to be targeted more precisely.
- Stereoelectroencephalography(stereo EEG): This is another minimally invasive procedure that is used by doctors to accurately identify the parts of the brain from where the seizures start. A stereoelectroencephalography is able to cover both sides of your brain and can identify seizure sites deeply seated in your brain. The precise identification of seizure sites allows the neurosurgeon to operate without harming the adjacent tissue. Thus, reducing the risk of affecting the important nearby regions of the brain such as those involved in memory or speech. During the surgery, the neurosurgeon will place the electrodes in your brain. These electrodes will help in monitoring your brain’s electrical activity.
What Are The Risks Of Epilepsy Surgery?
No surgery is completely safe and there are always some risks associated with any surgical procedure. Before proceeding with surgery, you should discuss the possible complications associated with the procedure. Here are some of the risks of epilepsy surgery that you should know about:
- Problems with language and memory
- Impaired vision
- Mood changes or depression that may affect your social life
Talk to your neurosurgeon to understand the possible risks and benefits of a surgical procedure for your epilepsy before proceeding with it.
What Will Be The Outcome Of My Epilepsy Surgery?
The results of epilepsy surgery will depend on the type of surgical procedure performed. Resection surgery has helped almost two-thirds of people become free from seizures. Research suggests that if an individual is free from seizures for at least a year after the surgery and takes medicines for seizures then the probability of staying seizure-free for at least two years is about 90%.
What Is The Cost Of Epilepsy Surgery?
The cost of epilepsy surgery can vary depending on factors such as the region where you are receiving treatment, the expertise of the neurosurgeon and the reputation of the hospital.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Epilepsy Surgery?
The amount of time required to recover from epilepsy surgery differs from one person to another. It can depend on the health of the person, the presence of complications, and how effective the surgery was. You will have to stay in the hospital for some time. However, you can expect to return to work after 4-6 weeks.
Availing Surgery For Epilepsy
If you are seeking an expert neurosurgeon who specializes in performing epilepsy surgery, then MediGence can assist you in connecting with well-trained neurosurgeons from around the world. You can also explore epilepsy surgery in the destination of your choice at an affordable price with us. If you wish to travel abroad for your epilepsy surgery, we can help make your journey hassle-free.
Avail Epilepsy Treatment Across the World
Receiving epilepsy surgery should not always be the last treatment option. If you wish to explore surgery for your epilepsy, talk to an experienced neurosurgeon who can evaluate your suitability for the procedure.