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4 Common Questions About Therapeutic Epilepsy Surgery

If you’re preparing for therapeutic epilepsy surgery, you may have some questions. Here are answers to 4 commonly asked questions.

1.     How long will I be in the hospital?

The length of your hospital stay will depend on your specific situation and the type of procedure you’re having. You may be sent home the same day as your procedure, or you may need to stay in the hospital for several days to recover. Speak with your epilepsy care team before your procedure to make sure that you understand what will happen after your procedure.

2.     Will I have to shave my head?

This depends on the type of procedure you’re having and the areas of your brain that the surgeon will need to access. While some procedures require little or no shaving, others require a larger portion of your head to be clear of hair so that the surgeon can work effectively and safely. Ask your surgeon before your procedure what you should expect. 

3.    Why would I have a therapeutic procedure to treat my epilepsy?

If you have drug-resistant epilepsy, surgery may be an option to help limit or stop your seizures. Epilepsy can be debilitating and can cause cognitive and development problems, especially in children.1 Epilepsy surgery may help to limit or stop your seizures so that you can enjoy a higher quality of life and more independence. However, the decision to treat your epilepsy surgically is a choice you should make together with your epilepsy care team. Speak with your neurologist before making your decision so that you understand the possible benefits and risks of the procedure. 

4.    Will my therapeutic procedure cure my epilepsy?

The effectiveness of your procedure depends on several factors – the type of procedure being done, the area your surgeon will be treating, and your specific type of epilepsy. While some patients may be cured of their epilepsy, other patients may still experience some, but fewer, seizures. Additionally, some types of procedures like VNS, RNS, and DBS become more effective at stopping seizures over time. Every patient is different, so make sure you talk with your epilepsy care team before your procedure and understand what to expect. 

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  1. Romanowski, E., et al. (2019, Jun 5). Epilepsy Surgery for Children. Epilepsy Foundation. https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/surgery/impact-early-epilepsy-surgery

Content reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Jiyeoun Yoo, MD, FAES, FACNS 

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