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6 Questions & Answers About Diagnostic Epilepsy Surgery

In this article, you’ll find 6 common questions and answers about diagnostic epilepsy surgery. 

If you’re scheduled for diagnostic epilepsy surgery, you may have questions on what to expect and how to prepare. Here are 6 common questions and answers about diagnostic epilepsy surgery.

Will I have to shave my head?

This depends on the type of procedure you’re having and where the electrodes are placed. While some procedures may 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.

How long will I be in the hospital?

The length of your hospital stay will depend on your specific situation. You’ll typically arrive at the hospital the day of your surgery. After implanting the electrodes, your epilepsy care team will need to record several seizures in order to determine a treatment plan for your specific epilepsy, which may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. 

Will an SEEG or strips and grids surgery cure my epilepsy?

No, these procedures are meant to diagnose where your seizures are occurring in your brain.

What is an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit?

An Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is the specialized area of the hospital where you’ll stay after your electrodes are implanted during your SEEG or strips and grids procedure. The hospital staff in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit are specially trained in epilepsy to monitor your brain activity.

What is functional mapping of the brain?

Functional mapping of the brain is a way for your epileptologist to see where certain functions, such as movement, vision, or language, are controlled in your brain.1 This may be done during your EMU stay using your SEEG electrodes and can help your epileptologist determine how to treat your epilepsy. 

Is epilepsy surgery right for me?

If you’ve tried 2 or more medications to treat your epilepsy without relief of symptoms, surgery may be an option. However, every patient is unique. Speak with your neurologist or seek a second opinion at a specialized epilepsy center to see if epilepsy surgery is right for you.

After your diagnostic surgery, your epileptologist will likely recommend possible treatment options based on your specific situation. Ask them questions about any concerns you have or clarification you need. Together, you and your doctor can decide what path forward is right for you.

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  1. Shafer, P. (2022, May 3). Brain Mapping. Epilepsy Foundation. https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/surgery/tests-surgery/brain-mapping-electrical-stimulation

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

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