Surgery for Epilepsy

Epilepsy surgery is a procedure that either removes or isolates the area of the brain where the seizures originate. If the section of the brain where the seizures begin is too vital to remove, the surgeon can make a series of incisions that prevent seizures from spreading to the rest of the brain.

Epilepsy surgery works best for people who have seizures that always originate in the same place in their brains. Surgery is usually only considered if medications have not worked to control the seizures. If two appropriate drugs have failed, it is highly unlikely that any other anti-epileptic drug will help. learn more


Researchers are developing an imaging system that may lead to better surgical treatments for epilepsy patients.

Surgery is considered under the following conditions:

  • The person has no other medical problem, which would make them unsuitable for this type of surgery.
  • Anti – epileptic drug treatment has been tried but proved unsuccessful.
  • The seizures can be seen to be arising from one localized area of the brain.
  • The person’s ability to function normally would not be affected by removing this part of the brain.
  • The irregular part of the brain is accessible to the surgeon and can be removed without causing further damage to any further part of the brain.
  • The areas of the brain responsible for speech, sight, movement or hearing are not close to the part of the brain to be removed.
  • The person is thought to have a very good chance of becoming seizure free after surgery.

Surgery is most commonly performed to treat partial epilepsy, since only one area of the brain is involved. During surgery, the area of the brain that triggers the seizures (usually a portion of the anterior temporal lobe) is removed. After surgery, some patients will be completely free of seizures; in others, the seizures will be better controlled. A few patients may need additional surgery.


Image of patient undergoing laser surgery to treat epilepsy.
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