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Epilepsy Surgery

Treatment Methods for Epilepsy Surgery

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At Children's National Hospital, our Epilepsy Surgery team focuses on minimally invasive epilepsy surgery, which uses small incisions and avoids traditional large open brain surgeries. This technique limits approach-related surgical trauma and has been shown to improve postoperative results, as evidenced by less postoperative pain, shorter hospitalization and better cosmetic appearances.

We have the following surgical options and brain stimulation techniques available to children in our care:

Surgical Options

    A highlight of our minimally invasive epilepsy surgery program is the recent introduction of the Visualase® MRI-Guided Laser Technology. This technique uses a 1.6 mm laser probe which is accurately placed in a seizure focus. The seizure focus is then destroyed using laser thermal energy while monitoring this event using real time intraoperative MRI.

    The advantage of this technique is that we can achieve precise destruction of the part of the brain causing seizures without injury to other critical parts of the brain near it. The software in this system protects brain structures nearby from laser energy.

    The small size of the incision significantly reduces postoperative hospitalization. Most of the children who undergo this procedure go home the next morning after surgery.

    Brain Stimulation

      The objective here is direct stimulation of the seizure onset zone using a responsive “closed loop” stimulation to control seizures. The components of this stimulator are a neurostimulator situated under the scalp connected to 1 or 2 depth or cortical strip leads. Each lead can be used for both sensing and stimulating. The physician programs detection and stimulation settings and retrieves and reviews data provided by the neurostimulator.