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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 completely prevent seizures and reverse delays in development that occur with some forms of epilepsy.

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On the Frontline of Epilepsy Treatment

Treatments for epilepsy have come a long way in the last decade. Doctors have more than twice as many epilepsymedications to choose from than they did 10 years ago. They've learned more about the causes of the condition and developed new methods of treatment, like nerve stimulation. There has been a lot of progress, and research continues into new drugs and treatments. This all adds up to a good prognosis for the nearly 3 million people with epilepsy in the U.S. With proper treatment, most people...

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The surgery always causes some loss of movement and sensation on one side of the body and sometimes causes partial loss of vision in half of the visual field of each eye. But most children with a large epileptic area on one side of the brain already have these problems before the surgery.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 26, 2011
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.
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