Epilepsy surgery is only recommended after a thorough evaluation and only for patients who will benefit significantly from surgery. Resective surgery for partial epilepsy is often very effective. The surgery is safe and well tolerated, and the majority of patients experience substantial improvement, often gaining complete control of their seizures.
Epilepsy surgery can be broadly divided into two types of surgery: Curative and palliative surgery. The goal of curative surgery is to remove the epileptogenic zone that gives rise to seizures and achieve complete or significant (at least 90%) improvement in seizures. Palliative procedures, in contrast, aim at reducing seizure severity and frequency.
Watch videos of epilepsy surgery at the DMC/WSU Comprehensive Epilepsy Program.
Epilepsy surgery is only recommended after a comprehensive evaluation that includes continuous video-EEG monitoring with scalp and sphenoidal electrodes, neuropsychological testing, and structural (MRI) and functional (PET, MRS, SPECT) brain imaging. In some candidates, localization of the epileptogenic region with this noninvasive evaluation is not sufficient. In these cases, further evaluation with intracranial electrodes may be required. Once the noninvasive and/or invasive studies have shown a well-defined focus of seizure origin, the patient may become a candidate for surgery.