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Epilepsy Treatments: Keeping Seizures Under Control

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Epilepsy: Surgical Options for Epilepsy


How Effective Is Epilepsy Surgery?

The effectiveness varies, depending on the type of surgery, with success rates varying between 50% and 80%. Some people are completely free of seizures after surgery. For others, the frequency of seizures is significantly reduced. In some cases, surgery may not be successful and a second surgery (re-operation) may be recommended. Most patients will need to continue taking anti-seizure medication for a year or more after surgery. Once seizure control is established, medications may be reduced or eliminated.

What Are the Risks of Epilepsy Surgery?

The risks of epilepsy surgery include:

  • Risks associated with surgery: Surgery may lead to infection and bleeding, as well as the risk of an allergic reaction to the anesthesia.
  • Risk of neurological deficits: Surgery can worsen existing problems or create new problems with the way the brain functions. Neurological deficits include loss of functions such as vision, speech, memory or movement.
  • Risk of surgery failure: Even with careful pre-surgical evaluation, surgery may not eliminate or reduce seizures. Before undergoing surgery, your doctor will discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure.


In some cases, isolated seizures may occur immediately following surgery. This does not necessarily mean the operation was not successful. Occasionally, a second operation, or re-operation, is needed to remove brain tissue that is later found to be a source of seizure activity.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on July 20, 2014
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