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Advancing Surgery as a Treatment Option for More Children

Our renowned pediatric epilepsy program is also focused on bringing the promise of epilepsy surgery to children who previously were not thought to be candidates. Because of our team’s experience and expertise, we are able to help them.

Our pediatric epileptologists perform an extensive presurgical evaluation with modern invasive electrode technology and work with experienced pediatric neurosurgeons, radiologists, neuropsychologists and psychiatrists to treat seizures with specialized and individually tailored brain surgery.

We offer minimally invasive surgical procedures to stop or reduce seizures for children of all ages. These advanced procedures are performed by our internationally recognized neurosurgeons with extensive experience in pediatric neurosurgery.

We are able to offer surgery to more children in part because of our strategies for decreasing surgical complications. For example, we were one of the first programs in the country to apply blood conservation techniques to epilepsy surgery for children. This minimizes the need for transfusions, which have inherent risks.

Reduced Complications and Faster Healing

We are also highly experienced at minimally invasive surgery, which reduces complications and scarring while offering faster healing. Minimally invasive neurosurgery often uses tiny endoscopes, computers and image guidance devices to make procedures safer and less traumatic.

Many Sound Surgical Choices to Achieve the Best Results

When surgery is the most effective treatment option, our experts are able to recommend numerous procedures to control and sometimes eliminate seizures. This is often the case with intractable epilepsy - epilepsy not controlled by anticonvulsant medications. Because we can offer so many surgical options, we are able to tailor the strongest individual approach for each child.

The exact area of the brain responsible for seizure onset needs to be identified by using MRI imaging, PET scanning and EEG recording. This recording is done through the scalp or regions deeper in the brain with the use of special subdural or depth electrodes that are placed, under computer guidance, into or onto these brain structures. Once the exact location of the seizure activity has been accurately determined, the epilepsy experts and neurosurgeons discuss the results in a combined patient management meeting where they determine the best approach for the patient which is then presented to the family by the neurosurgeon. Modern computer imaging programs are used to overlap the results from all the studies to create an image for the most accurate and individually tailored operation planning which is referred to during the actual operation to improve accuracy.

We perform procedures called hemispherotomies and posterior disconnections in young infants that have larger areas of brain involved in generating seizures. The surgeon actually isolates these areas from the rest of the brain. Other procedures involve taking out tumors, scars, and malformations in addition to surrounding tissue that is active. In some cases larger regions of brain are removed which are called lobectomies. In well selected cases the chances for seizure free outcome is up to 80 percent. Surgical risks are kept low by having an experienced team perform all our surgeries. Children of all ages, even infants, can do well after surgery and are frequently discharged within a few days following surgery.