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Epilepsy Health Center

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Epilepsy and Temporal Lobe Resection

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What Happens During a Temporal Lobe Resection? continued...

In some cases, a portion of the surgery is performed while the patient is in a ''twilight state'' -- awake but under sedation -- so that the patient can help the surgeon find and avoid areas of the brain responsible for vital functions. While the patient is awake, the doctor uses special probes to stimulate different areas of the brain. At the same time, the patient is asked to count, identify pictures, or perform other tasks. The surgeon can then determine the area of the brain associated with each task.

After the brain tissue is removed, the dura and bone are fixed back into place, and the scalp is closed using stitches or staples.

What Happens After Temporal Lobe Resection?

The patient generally stays in the hospital for two to four days. Most people who undergo temporal lobe resection surgery will be able to return to their normal activities, including work or school, in six to eight weeks after surgery. The hair over the incision will grow back and hide the surgical scar. Most patients will need to continue taking antiseizure medications for two or more years after surgery. Once seizure control is established, medications may be reduced or eliminated in some patients.

How Effective Is a Temporal Lobe Resection?

Temporal lobe resection is successful in eliminating (being seizure-free for one year) or significantly reducing seizures in 60% to 90% of patients.

What Are the Side Effects of Temporal Lobe Resection?

The following symptoms may occur after surgery, although they generally go away on their own:

  • Scalp numbness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired or depressed
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty speaking, remembering, or finding words
  • Continued auras (feelings that signal the start of a seizure)
  • Weakness, paralysis
  • Change in personality

What Are the Risks of a Temporal Lobe Resection?

The complication rate with temporal lobe resection is low, but there are some risks, including:

  • Risks associated with surgery, including infection, bleeding, and allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Failure to relieve seizures
  • Changes in personality or mental abilities
  • Pain

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on July 14, 2014
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