Epilepsy is sometimes caused by an area of abnormal brain tissue. There are many reasons why an abnormality occurs and it may be unimportant unless it causes seizures. The size and position of the area, referred to as the epilepsy focus, varies between individuals. If surgery can remove the epilepsy focus, seizures can often be prevented. The chance of successful surgery and the risks of complications differ for each patient.
Surgery is usually only used where medication fails and is not intended to be a substitute for medication. If surgery is considered to be a possible treatment for your epilepsy, several months of extensive testing and counselling are undertaken before surgery is performed. Your doctors will then discuss with you, the possible outcomes and potential risks from surgery in your case, so that you can make an informed choice. Successful surgery can prevent seizures from occurring, or dramatically reduce seizure frequency and thereby change a person's life forever. Epilepsy Queensland can provide you with specialised literature on this topic.
Information reviewed by Dr. David Reutens, Brisbane. Updated August 2013. To be reviewed 2015
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