If you have epilepsy, then you should seek out care from a neurology specialist. This means speaking with a general neurologist physician or meeting with a neurosurgeon. Neurosurgeons can help to provide assistance and care through surgery. So, what kind of surgical approaches will your neurosurgeon take to treat your epilepsy?
Diagnostic Surgical Approaches
Oftentimes, epilepsy is diagnosed when seizures are witnessed by others. EEG imaging can also be used to positively diagnose the disorder. However, a neurosurgeon can complete more in-depth tests to determine the location of the seizure activity. The testing is completed by placing electrodes through the skull and into the brain tissue. Small strips of electrodes can be used as well, but this requires a more extensive surgery where a portion of the skull is removed.
The electrodes record the electrical activity of different areas of the brain. This activity is gathered and analyzed by a computer, and when a seizure occurs, the location or locations are identified. Not only does this help to pinpoint the specific type of epilepsy, but it also provides information on triggers that may be causing the seizure activity.
In addition to identifying the seizure location, neurosurgeons can use surgical approaches to map out the brain. Mapping allows your doctor to identify the functional structures of the organ and this is vitally important if surgical tissue removal may be scheduled in the future.
Surgical Treatment Approaches
Once epilepsy is diagnosed, surgery may be scheduled to treat the disorder. This is a common approach if the condition cannot be controlled through medication. Also, if you have gone through one or several episodes of status epilepticus, then surgery may be suggested to help prevent a future emergency situation.
There are a few different types of surgeries that can be performed by your neurosurgeon. A laser-assisted approach may be used to destroy abnormal tissue formations that are causing seizures. If a growth, tumor, cyst, or other formation is large, then an open surgical procedure may be necessary. Craniotomy, or the removal of the skull, is often needed in this situation.
A craniotomy is also required in cases where an entire hemisphere of the brain is removed. These types of procedures are more common in children with birth defects.
Nerve stimulus devices may be surgically implanted, too, and these are helpful to control brain activity if tissue removal is not an option.
If you want to know more about epilepsy, speak with a neurosurgeon in your area.