Epilepsy brain surgery is an option for some people with epilepsy
The aim of epilepsy surgery is to improve quality of life by stopping seizures or significantly reducing their frequency and/or severity
There are many different types of epilepsy brain surgery
A thorough assessment will be made to find out if epilepsy brain surgery might be suitable
Surgery will only go ahead if doctors believe that the benefits are greater than the risks
About epilepsy brain surgery
Who can have epilepsy brain surgery?
- If you have tried at least 2 epilepsy medicines and are still having seizures, talk to your epilepsy doctor. You could ask them whether an assessment for epilepsy brain surgery is a possibility for you
- Epilepsy surgery is not suitable for all types of epilepsy. Whether or not it’s a possibility for you depends on where in the brain your seizures start
- If you’re not suitable for epilepsy brain surgery you may be able to try vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)
What to expect
- A thorough assessment will find out if epilepsy brain surgery is likely to benefit you
- The assessment, tests and appointments can take up to a year
- A member of your medical team will explain the options available to you. The results, risks and benefits of having surgery will be discussed with you
- Epilepsy brain surgery happens in specialist epilepsy centres. This might not be your local hospital
- There a lots of different types of brain surgery. Some involve removing a section of the brain and for one type of epilepsy, the surgery separates the two halves of the brain
- After surgery you need to allow time to rest and recover, and gradually become more active. If you usually work it’s likely you will need to be off work for 2 or 3 months
How can it can help?
Epilepsy brain surgery is more successful for some people than others. Benefits that people can have following epilepsy brain surgery are:
- Stopping seizures
- Fewer or less severe seizures
- Lower risk of injury and SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy)
- Better quality of life
- Being able to reduce or stop taking epilepsy medicines over time
What are the risks?
There are risks linked with any surgery, such as infection and complications from anaesthetic. There are also some potential risks specific to epilepsy brain surgery:
- Memory problems
- Speech and language may be affected
- Low mood
- No change in seizure control
Stories by you
Watch Matt’s vlog about his preparation for possible brain surgery.
Have you had epilepsy brain surgery? To share your story get in touch.