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Epilepsy Surgery for Children and Adults - Long Island Brain and Spine

November 22, 2023

Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can cause recurrent, unprovoked seizures, impacts countless lives, both children and adults alike. While some patients can find relief through medication, others continue to grapple with drug-resistant seizures. For this subset of patients, epilepsy brain surgery emerges as a potential avenue of treatment. At Long Island Brain and Spine, we understand the difficulty and disruption that seizures can cause. This article will explore the various types of surgical treatments available so you can get the care you need.

Types of Epilepsy Surgery

Understanding the diverse surgical interventions available is pivotal for informed decision-making. Let's explore the significant type we offer here at Long Island Brain and Spine, performed by our renowned surgeon, Dr. David Phillips.

  • Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Surgery: This procedure has shown positive outcomes in reducing or eliminating seizures for many patients.
  • VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulation) Epilepsy Surgery: VNS involves implanting a device in the chest that sends electrical impulses to the brain via the vagus nerve. This method has effectively decreased seizure frequency and severity for patients.
  • Intracranial Electrode Monitoring: In this procedure, electrodes are implanted in specific brain areas to determine the exact source of epilepsy. This allows for tailored treatment of the focus of brain-causing seizures.
  • Callosotomy and Hemispherectomy: In severe cases, surgery can be lifesaving. Preventing drop attacks or neurologic decline is the goal of some surgeries, which can reduce the frequency of seizures and improve the quality of life.
  • Other Surgical Procedures: Beyond those above, different procedures treat specific causes of epilepsy or associated conditions. For instance, surgeries for conditions like trigeminal neuralgia, a facial pain syndrome, can sometimes be relevant for epilepsy patients.

When visiting us at Long Island Brain & Spine, Dr. Phillips will explain the procedure best fit for you, your child, or your family's needs. He specializes in pediatric and adult neurosurgery, emphasizing epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

Symptoms and Indicators for Surgery

As we navigate the world of epilepsy, it's important to discern which symptoms might indicate the need for surgical intervention. Two prominent conditions are:

  • Focal Onset Seizures
  • Seizures originating in one brain region can cause confusing symptoms, ranging from sudden movements to more subtle, unnoticeable pauses in activity. While medication is the first line of defense, persistent and drug-resistant seizures might warrant surgical consideration.
  • Generalized Seizures
  • Seizures may occur in multiple parts of the brain, causing loss of consciousness, injury or even status epilepticus. More severe and more frequent seizures can increase the risk for SUDEP: Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy
  • Criteria to Consider Surgery as a Treatment for Epilepsy:
    • Severity and Frequency: Uncontrolled, severe seizures that significantly impair quality of life could indicate the need for surgery.
    • Drug Resistance: If multiple antiepileptic drugs fail to manage the seizures effectively or if the side effect of medications is intolerable, surgery becomes a more viable option.

Recognizing these symptoms and conditions early on facilitates a timely evaluation and broadens the treatment spectrum for individuals with epilepsy.

Post-Surgery Outlook

The journey doesn't end with the completion of the surgery; understanding what lies ahead post-operation is essential for both the patient and their caregivers.

  • Epilepsy Surgery After-effects: As with any surgical intervention, there might be temporary or lasting physical or cognitive changes. These vary based on the type of surgery and the area of the brain involved. Surgery can also reverse some of the cognitive and behavioral complications of frequent seizures or antiepileptic medications. Regular follow-ups are crucial to monitor and manage these changes effectively.
  • Survival Rate and Success Rate: Epilepsy surgery boasts promising statistics. The success rate is commendable for many procedures, with many patients experiencing reduced seizure frequency and severity. However, it's vital to discuss individual prognoses with healthcare professionals.
  • Recovery Time: The recovery time post-epilepsy surgery can differ based on the procedure's complexity and the individual's health. The goal of using minimally invasive techniques and enhanced recovery paradigms is to return to full function as quickly as possible. Occasionally, a rehabilitation period, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy, might be beneficial.
  • Ongoing Seizure Treatment: Surgery may significantly reduce seizures, enabling many to decrease and potentially eventually discontinue medications. Regular follow-ups are crucial to monitor and adjust treatment plans as needed.

Post-surgery, the goal remains to improve the patient's quality of life. With diligent care and continuous monitoring, many individuals embark on a journey of reduced seizures and renewed hope.

Epilepsy Surgery at Long Island Brain and Spine

Advancements in epilepsy treatment have broadened the horizons for countless individuals. From traditional seizure treatments to the marvels of modern surgical interventions like deep brain stimulation and laser and radiation therapy, the potential paths toward better health are ever-increasing. Nonetheless, every treatment decision, especially as significant as surgery, demands thorough research, consultation, and introspection.

In the vast medical community working towards alleviating the challenges of epilepsy, having Dr. David Phillips on our team at Long Island Brain and Spine is noteworthy. As a renowned Neurosurgeon, Dr. Phillips exemplifies the blend of expertise and dedication required in this field. For those considering surgical intervention, seeking counsel from such reputed professionals can make all the difference in their treatment journey.

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