Brain Surgery for Epilepsy


People with epilepsy experience recurrent seizures, because of a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain that causes a temporary disturbance in the messaging systems between brain cells.
Medications can control seizures in most people with epilepsy, but they don’t work for everyone. About 30% of people taking the drugs can’t tolerate the side effects. In some cases, brain surgery may be an option.

The doctors at Aakash super specialityhospital, ensure that the patient’s problems are heard carefully and patiently so that the patient is given the best possible treatment.

Causes of epilepsy:

Healthy people may have seizures under certain circumstances. If the seizures have a known cause, the condition is referred to as secondary or symptomatic epilepsy. Some of the more common causes include the following:

  • Tumour
  • Chemical imbalance such as low blood sugar or sodium
  • Head injuries
  • Certain toxic chemicals or drugs of abuse
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Stroke, including hemorrhage
  • Birth injuries

What is the purpose of epilepsy brain surgery?

Epilepsy surgery is done to:

  • Try to stop your seizures or
  • Reduce the number of seizures you have or
  • Make your seizures less severe

Overall, the aim is to improve your quality of life.

Types of epilepsy brain surgery:

There are various types of epilepsy brain surgery.
These are types where part of the brain is taken away, and are known as resection surgery:

  • Temporal lobectomy – in this type of surgery, brain tissue in the temporal lobes that has been causing seizures is cut away
  • Extratemporalresection – in this type of surgery, brain tissue in other parts of the brain that has been causing seizures is cut away
  • Lesionectomy – in this type of surgery, tumours, abscesses or other types of damage that have been causing seizures is cut away

If resection surgery isn’t possible, then one might have a type of surgery where one part of the brain is disconnected from another part, such as:

  • Hemispherectomy – in this type of surgery, the outer layer of one half of the brain is removed
  • Corpus callosotomy – in this type of surgery, the connections between the 2 sides (hemispheres) of the brain are cut. This stops seizures spreading from one hemisphere to the other
  • Multiple subpialtransection – in this type of surgery, the nerve fibres in the outer layers of the brain are cut. This stops the seizure activity spreading

What happens during epilepsy brain surgery?

It depends on the type of surgery oneundergoes. Usually you will be given general anaesthetic to put you to sleep. The surgery involves making a small opening in your skull to get to your brain. Rarely, your surgeon may wake you up during part of the operation to help the operating team locate the part of your brain that controls language and movement. Your surgeon will be able to explain this to you. After the surgery, the bone is replaced, and fixed to your skull for healing. Epilepsy brain surgery usually takes several hours.

After epilepsy brain surgery:

  • Your head will be swollen and painful
  • You will need to take painkillers for a few days. The pain and swelling will get less over the next few weeks
  • You will continue to take epilepsy medicines for a year or 2.

Are there any risks associated with the surgery?

Before you have surgery, your doctor will discuss the pros and cons with you. Some risks are:

  • Infection and bleeding, as well as the chance of an allergic reaction to the anaesthesia. These are common with any operation.
  • Making existing problems worse or creating new trouble with the way your brain works. You could lose vision, speech, memory, or movement.
  • A return of seizures.

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