Epilepsy is a medical condition in which a person experiences recurrent seizures (fits). A seizure is a brief disruption of the brain's normal electrical activity leading to a variety of symptoms like unusual sensations, movements or behaviours without full loss of consciousness or the person may black out, fall, and jerk violently. The symptoms experienced by the person with epilepsy during a seizure depend on where in the brain the abnormal electrical activity occurs.
Epilepsy surgery is a procedure that removes an area of your brain where your seizures originate. Epilepsy surgery works best for people who have seizures that always originate in the same place in their brains. Epilepsy surgery either removes the seizure-producing area of the brain or limits the spread of seizure activity.
PREPARING FOR THE SURGERY
To understand and point out the area of your brain from where seizures are starting, your doctor will perform several pre-surgical evaluation tests such as: Baseline electroencephalogram to measure electrical activity of your brain, Video EEG to continuous monitor and record your seizures as they occur, MRI or CT scan to determine structural problems, PET scan to detect any abnormalities and Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) to monitor blood flow for spotting the troublesome areas of your brain.
ON THE DAY OF THE SURGERY
In order to avoid any infections, your hairs will be clipped short over the area of skull need to be operated. You will have a small flexible tube placed within a vein (intravenous access) so that your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels will be monitored throughout the surgery. An EEG monitor also may be placed to record your brain waves during the surgery to better localize the part of your brain where your seizures start.
Epilepsy surgery is usually performed during general anaesthesia. That means you’ll be unconscious during the procedure, which involves making a small opening in your skull to access the brain. In rare circumstances, your surgeon may awaken you during part of the operation to help the team determine which parts of your brain control language and movement. After surgery the window of bone is replaced and fastened to the remaining skull for healing. Most epilepsy surgeries take at least four hours.
After the surgery you will be kept in a recovery room or ICU to monitor the vital signs, and once your signs like Blood pressure, pulse become normal and effect of anaesthesia is over, after a night of ICU stay, you will be shifted to a normal hospital room. Generally, you will be need a hospitalization of three to four days after the Epilepsy surgery. If you experience nausea and headache after surgery, medication can be given to control these symptoms. When you awaken, your head will be swollen and painful. Most people need narcotics for the pain for at least the first few days. An ice pack on your head also may help. Most postoperative swelling and pain resolve within several weeks.
You will be given post-operative care instructions and will be discharged after three or four days.
You’ll probably not be able to return to work or for approximately one to three months. You should rest and relax the first few weeks after epilepsy surgery and then gradually escalate your activity. Some people may have to continue with medication indefinitely for seizure control. If language or memory problems continue past the recovery period, your doctor may recommend speech or physical therapy. An early exercise program to gently stretch the neck and back may be advised. Walking is encouraged; start with short walks and gradually increase the distance. Wait to participate in other forms of exercise until discussed with your surgeon.
Let EasyCure help you
Q: How safe is epilepsy surgery?
A: Epilepsy surgery is much safer than living with recurrent seizures. Surgery is about improving quality of life and people are expected essentially to be the same after surgery, except hopefully without seizures, or with a dramatic reduction in their seizures.
Q: Can seizures re-occur post Epilepsy surgery?
A: Epilepsy surgery improves the quality of life and in maximum cases seizures rarely re-occur but as every surgery has its risks in some cases seizures may return after six months or few years’ reason for which not really understood.
Q: Is there any age-limit for epilepsy surgery?
A: There is no fixed age but many factors are taken into consideration before deciding the surgery. The average age at the time of surgery is 20 – 40 years. The ideal age may be younger still. If you have tried two medications and it doesn’t help, you may be a candidate for epilepsy surgery.
Q: When can I drive or go out alone after the Epilepsy surgery?
A: It is recommended to at least wait for six months to see if seizures re-occur. And it is advised to begin with a driver training course and go by slowly.
Q: When is the optimal time to be evaluated for surgery?
A: If a child continues to have seizures despite being treated on 2 appropriately selected anti-seizure medications, further medication therapy only has a marginal chance at curing the seizures. It is thus very important to be evaluated for surgery given the serious side effects associated with uncontrolled epilepsy.
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