Epileptic Surgery

Epileptic drugs are the best way to control epileptic disorders and seizures – but they are not the only way. There are different types of surgical procedures that can be performed that can help to control the seizures. Resective and corpus callosotomy are two epileptic surgeries that are performed on the brain. Vagus nerve stimulation is an epileptic surgery that is the process of implanting a stimulator on the vagus nerve in the neck.

Resective Epileptic Surgery

Resective surgery is most commonly used on children who are not responding to the epileptic medication that their doctor has placed them on. Usually this is an indicator that the focal area of the brain is causing the seizures creating focal epileptic seizures instead of the more common generalized seizures. During this epileptic surgery the surgeon will remove the part of the cerebral cortex that is causing the seizures. The area that is removed may be small and located in one area or it may be larger and in many different places of the brain.

Corpus Callosotomy Epileptic Surgery

The corpus callosum is an area in the body that is made up of nerve fibers – which gives both parts of the brain the ability to communicate with each other. During this medical procedure the surgeon will cut the corpus callosum. A partial callosotomy is when the surgeon will only remove one section of it. A total callosotomy is when the whole thing is removed. This epileptic surgery will not allow the two sides of the brain to communicate well with each other and therefore will keep the seizures from spreading to other parts of the brain.

Vagus Nerve Stimulator Epileptic Surgery

The vagus nerve is what connects the brain to many of our major organs (heart, lungs, and stomach). When the nerve is stimulated it will automatically send different messages to the brain. Thanks to the advancements in medical research health experts have learned that when the nerve is stimulated it will keep children from having seizures.

The vagus nerve stimulator is a wire that is connected to an electrical stimulator. The wire will be wrapped around the left vagus nerve that is located in the child’s neck and the stimulator will be implanted into a pouch that will be placed under the skin located in the upper chest. The stimulator will be programmed to constantly send electrical signals. Depending on the strength and how frequently it goes off is something that the physician will determine.

Some patients are able to control this with a simple device. When they feel that a seizure is coming on they can activate the stimulator using the device to shorten or avoid the seizure.