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Epilepsy Surgery

Epilepsy surgery can provide effective seizure control without medication.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition caused by an excessive and uncontrolled discharge of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, which results in seizures. Epilepsy surgery may be an option for treating epileptic seizures that cannot be adequately controlled with anti-seizure medications. Through the surgical removal or destruction of the area of the brain that is causing the seizures, epilepsy surgery can stop the seizures or reduce their severity without the use of medication.

What Does Epilepsy Surgery Involve?

The most common type of epilepsy surgery is a brain resection, which involves the removal of a small portion of the brain. After identifying the area of the brain where the seizures originate—usually, the site of a brain injury, malformation or tumor—the surgeon creates a window in the skull, then removes a small amount of brain tissue. In most cases, resective epilepsy surgery is performed on one of the temporal lobes, which control language comprehension, visual memory and emotions. When the procedure is complete, the surgeon replaces the piece of bone that was removed and fastens it to the skull for healing.

Laser Ablation for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery – What to Expect

For certain patients, there may be a minimally invasive alternative to resective epilepsy surgery. Laser ablation involves the use of light energy to destroy the brain tissue where seizures originate with minimal impact on surrounding healthy structures. As compared to traditional epilepsy surgery, some advantages of this technique include:

  • Lower risk of postoperative pain and complications
  • Faster healing with minimal scarring
  • A shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery

Additionally, laser ablation does not involve the use of radiation, so it can be repeated as needed without the risk of excessive radiation exposure.

Is Epilepsy Surgery Effective?

This operation is highly effective—about 80 percent of patients are cured of the disease and another 10 percent experience improvement in their conditions after surgery. Tampa General Hospital is one of just four hospitals in Florida that offer epilepsy surgery. Our skilled neurosurgeons perform more than 50 epilepsy procedures per year; as such, TGH is one of Florida’s highest-volume epilepsy surgery centers. TGH was also the first hospital in the Tampa Bay area to use laser ablation for minimally invasive neurosurgery. Additionally, we offer other innovative treatments for epileptic seizures that cannot be controlled with medication, including vagus nerve stimulation.