Epilepsy surgery is any type of surgery where parts of the brain are removed, disconnected, destroyed, or stimulated to stop seizures.

There are many different types of epilepsy surgeries. Which procedure is used depends upon the type of seizures presented, where they are localized in the brain, and the training and experience of the neurosurgeon.

  • Resections are surgeries which cut out part of the brain
  • Disconnections are surgeries which cut the fibers from areas of brain cells, called neurons, so that they cannot communicate seizures to other parts of the brain
  • Destructive surgeries may destroy a small or large part of the brain with heat from a laser, radiation, sound, or by preventing blood flow
  • Stimulative surgeries, more commonly called neuromodulation, are surgeries where part of the brain is stimulated usually through thin wires that are placed in different parts of the brain or on the vagus nerve in the neck.

In this webinar from our awareness campaign “Let’s Talk About Epilepsy Surgery,” Dr. Sandi Lam, Division Head of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Program at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago joins the conversation by providing an overview of the many different epilepsy surgeries used to treat drug-resistant seizures in children. It’s a great place to start if you want to understand epilepsy surgery. 

Curative surgery

Many surgeries are categorized as curative. This means that the goal of the surgery is to stop the seizures completely.

These surgeries are:

Whether the surgery stops the seizures depends on many factors, including the type of surgery, the cause of the seizures, how long the child has been having seizures, and whether other parts of the brain are developing normally.

Palliative surgery

Some surgeries are palliative. This means that the goal of surgery is to reduce the number of seizures your child is having.  Usually, these surgeries will not stop seizures completely.

They include:

What Is Epilepsy Surgery? A Quick Guide for Parents and Caregivers

This brief guide introduces you to the various surgeries to consider to stop drug-resistance seizures in childhood.

Downloadable PDF – English