Skip to content

Epilepsy Health Center

Font Size

Hemispherectomy for Epilepsy - Topic Overview

The left and right sides of the brain are called hemispheres. Hemispherectomy is the removal of one side of the brain. This procedure is sometimes done on children who have severe forms of epilepsy, such as Rasmussen syndrome and Sturge-Weber disease. These conditions badly damage one side of the brain, cause frequent seizures and problems with physical and mental development. And these conditions do not respond well to drug treatment.

Hemispherectomy may stop seizures completely in children who have severe epilepsy. Many patients can walk independently after surgery. But there are risks with surgery. Problems with reading and speaking are common. Most school-age children will need help in school after the surgery.

Recommended Related to Epilepsy

Actor Greg Grunberg Steps Up for Epilepsy

On the NBC show Heroes, Greg Grunberg plays an ordinary guy with extraordinary powers. In real life, he credits astonishing powers to his 13-year-old son, Jake, who has lived with epilepsy for the past five years. Epilepsy, a neurological condition that affects 3 million Americans (350,000 of them are children), causes periodic seizures, where the brain produces a sudden burst of electrical activity. During a seizure, people can shake, stare, fall down, or even briefly lose consciousness. "To...

Read the Actor Greg Grunberg Steps Up for Epilepsy article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Hemispherectomy for Epilepsy Topics

    Today on WebMD

    human head and brain waves
    Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    Grand mal seizure
    How is each one different?
    marijuana plant
    CBD, a plant chemical, may cut down seizures.
    prescription bottle
    Which medication is right for you?
    Seizures Driving
    Questions for Doctor Epilepsy
    Graces Magic Diet
    Pills spilling from bottle in front of clock
    first aid kit
    Caring Child Epilepsy
    Making Home Safe
    epilepsy monitoring

    WebMD Special Sections