Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
In most cases, epilepsy surgery can reduce — and sometimes even eliminate — your seizure activity. Repeated epileptic seizures can cause:
- Broken bones or other injuries from falling during a seizure
- Drowning, if the seizure occurs during a bath or swimming
- Brain damage from prolonged seizures
- Sudden death, a rare complication of epilepsy
The type of epilepsy surgery you may have depends on the types of seizures you experience and where they begin in your brain. They include:
- Removing a portion of the brain. The most common type of epilepsy surgery is the removal of the portion of the brain — usually about the size of a golf ball — that's causing the seizures. This type of surgery — called resective surgery — can remove a lobe, a portion of a lobe, or a lesion and is highly successful.
- Severing connection between hemispheres. Another type of epilepsy surgery, called a corpus callosotomy, severs the network of neural connections between the right and left halves (hemispheres) of the brain. This surgery is used primarily in children who have severe seizures that start in one hemisphere and spread to the other side. This can help reduce the severity of seizures.
- Removing half the brain. The most radical type of epilepsy surgery removes the outer layer of half the brain. Hemispherectomy is used in children who have seizures because of damage to just one half (hemisphere) of the brain — which occurs in a few rare conditions that are present at birth or that appear in early infancy. The chance of a full recovery is best in younger children.
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- Wirrell EC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept 27, 2012.