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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.

     

    Re-operations

    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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