Press Release

Brain Mapping of Seizure Networks Gives Hope to People with Intractable Epilepsy

05.05.2014

HOW IS INTRACTABLE EPILEPSY DIAGNOSED?
  • Your doctor will likely ask you many questions about how your seizures begin. Make sure you ask your family or friends to describe what happens exactly when you start having seizures.
  • You will likely also have a test called an electroencephalogram (EEG). This involves placing electrodes on your scalp to measure your brain's activity.
  • The Stanford Comprehensive Epilepsy Program offers high resolution MRI brain scans that provide the most detailed imaging possible (with the 7-Tesla MRI) of the most subtle abnormalities in brain structure.
HOW IS INTRACTABLE EPILEPSY TREATED?
  • Surgery may be especially helpful if you have intractable focal or partial epilepsy. During the procedure, the doctor will remove the part of your brain that is starting the seizures.
  • The key to epilepsy surgery is localization of the precise source of the seizure in your brain. Patients under consideration for surgery will usually undergo video-EEG monitoring as an inpatient in order to capture five or six of their typical seizures.
  • Before surgery, doctors will also map the brain, using electrodes to identify brain regions involved in specific functions to make sure that surgery will not interfere with those functions.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR SURGICAL TREATMENT OF INTRACTABLE EPILEPSY?
  • If evidence about the origin of your seizures is overwhelming and there is no doubt that you will tolerate the epilepsy surgery, then you can proceed to surgical treatment.
  • If evidence about the origin of your seizures is strong but the location of the seizures needs to be verified, you will be referred to a surgeon for inpatient intracranial video-EEG monitoring.
  • If surgery to remove the epileptic tissue is not safe for you, the team may consider a device, such as a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) or an investigational device through a clinical trial.

About Stanford Health Care

Stanford Health Care seeks to heal humanity through science and compassion one patient at a time, through its commitment to care, educate, and discover. Stanford Health Care delivers clinical innovation across its inpatient services, specialty health centers, physician offices, virtual care offerings and health plan programs.

Stanford Health Care is a leading academic health system and part of Stanford Medicine, which includes the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. Stanford Medicine is renowned for breakthroughs in treating cancer, heart disease, brain disorders and surgical and medical conditions. For more information, visit: www.stanfordhealthcare.org.

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