Epilepsy Surgery

Epilepsy Information 2012

Discussing Epilepsy Surgery

Epilepsy surgery is an alternative method of treatment for people suffering from epilepsy. Much like other medical conditions, it is normally not the first option for treatment but is only entertained when a series of preconditions are met. In the succeeding paragraphs, we’ll talk about the development of epilepsy surgery as a viable option for epilepsy treatment as well as the preconditions that need to be satisfied prior to undergoing the surgery.

Not that many years ago, doctors only recommend epilepsy surgery after a long period of aggressive medication, in most cases lasting up to a decade. The idea behind this strategy was that the brain was too sensitive of a body part to tinker with and that the development of modern medication formulations for epilepsy was bound to advance the progress of the treatment anyway.

Today, new medical data has refuted this mindset and is advancing a more favorable approach to epilepsy surgery. This has led to the preconditions that commonly govern when a patient can start considering surgery.

1. First, an aggressive round of medications will need to be administered to see if the case responds to this form of treatment. In many cases, this applies to patients that have a hard time managing their seizures either because of the severity or frequency or both. Consequently, historical data and current research has helped show that patients who are not responsive to surgery for a period of 3 to 5 years will not get any better beyond that point even with more sophisticated formulations for epilepsy medicine. Likewise, a related body of data has also shown that the sooner surgery can be administered on a patient, the better the chance of full recovery so that the underlying cause does not spread too much to include more areas of the brain. As a result, doctors now try an aggressive regiment of at least 2 epilepsy drugs mixed with another round where two or more drugs are combined to determine the effects. In case both of these regimens prove ineffective, patients can start considering surgery in as short a period as 1-2 years.

2. Second, the specific epilepsy case being recommended for surgery must have a traceable cause on which the surgery can be conducted. This means that structural abnormalities in the brain such as benign tumors, arterial malformations, angiomas and other related phenomenon must exist. Where these structural abnormalities are not present, recommending surgery might be difficult because there will be no specific area on which the surgeon can operate.

The fact that epilepsy surgery has advanced to a state where it can now be recommended sooner is welcome news for many patients who have long waited for the chance to convince their doctors that surgery is indeed a viable option for their condition. Provided that the mentioned preconditions are met, patients and doctors alike can move forward with the treatment regimen by closely considering the available options in order to use epilepsy surgery as a tool for recovery and healing.

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