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If medication does not effectively control your child's seizures or your child doesn’t tolerate medication well, our epilepsy specialists may recommend surgery. Children’s brains are still developing, which makes them good candidates for epilepsy surgery. However, the percentage of patients we recommend for surgery is relatively small.
At the Pediatric Epilepsy Center, we perform a number of seizure surgeries.
Before your child has surgery, our experts will create 3D images of the electrical activity in your child’s brain. To do this, we use noninvasive monitoring techniques that combine complex mathematical equations with MRI images and EEG data. The data we gather from these tests, otherwise known as electrical source imaging studies, helps our specialists determine if surgery is the best treatment option for your child. Then, our pediatric neurosurgeons use the data to help them carefully plan the safest, most effective and efficient approach to surgery. We are one of a handful of epilepsy centers offering this advanced technology to young patients.
In addition to performing traditional resections for focal epilepsy, we also offer minimally invasive, stereotactic high-precision techniques both for diagnosis and treatment of focal epilepsy.
Some children who have partial (focal) seizures may be candidates for RNS. First, a neurosurgeon implants a small stimulation device in the skull bone beneath your child's scalp. Up to two EEG leads are placed in or on the brain at the precisely identified seizure source(s). Then they are connected to the stimulator. Once powered, the stimulator monitors and records electrical activity in the brain. When the device detects abnormal activity, it delivers a mild electrical shock to stop the seizure. With RNS, your child will not be aware when a seizure is detected or interrupted.
RNS may be an option when:
Our epilepsy team is the first in Illinois to offer MRI-guided SEEG and laser ablation surgery. If your child has a single, well-defined seizure focus, we may be able to use this minimally invasive procedure to safely and effectively eliminate the brain tissue where the seizures originate.
During the SEEG procedure, your child’s surgeons place electrodes into the brain to monitor brain activity and precisely locate the seizure focus. The neurosurgeon then eradicates the seizure source with pinpoint accuracy, using a tiny laser applicator in the MRI scanner. Continuous real-time imaging allows the neurosurgeon to monitor the effects of the treatment.
With SEEG and laser ablation, we are able to precisely identify and target the seizure source while preserving as much of the surrounding healthy brain tissue as possible. This can also minimize side effects.
Using highly focused X-rays, your child’s neurosurgeon applies high doses of radiation directly into the epileptic focus. This minimally invasive procedure destroys the targeted area without damaging the healthy brain tissue around it.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a particularly effective treatment for gelastic seizures (laughing seizures) and dacrystic seizures (crying seizures), which are most commonly associated with a benign brain tumor called a hypothalamic hamartoma.
Our neurosurgeons are part of a new clinical trial using minimally invasive, image-guided laser surgery to treat certain types of epilepsy for patients who don't respond to medication.Read the article