Epilepsy surgery successful for alleviating seizures over the long term

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- In one of the largest epilepsy surgery studies ever conducted, Mayo Clinic researchers have found that 81 percent of patients with intractable epilepsy become totally or nearly seizure-free six months following epilepsy surgery. Ten years later, 72 percent remained totally or nearly seizure-free. Findings will be published in the April issue of Journal of Neurosurgery (www.thejns-net.org).

"I think this is very exciting because the surgery not only can stop the seizures following the operation, but it can stop them for the long term," says Gregory Cascino, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and study investigator.

Aaron Cohen, M.D., lead study investigator, agrees. "This shows us seizure surgery is durable -- it remains effective and safe over time." Dr. Cohen is a former Mayo Clinic neurosurgical resident who is now a neurosurgical fellow at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Epilepsy affects 3 million Americans. Thirty to 40 percent have intractable epilepsy: medications alone do not control the seizures, and the seizures have a disabling effect on quality of life.

"All other forms of treatment, specifically maximum anticonvulsant treatment, have failed for these patients," says Fredric Meyer, M.D., chair of Mayo Clinic Department of Neurologic Surgery and study investigator. "Often these patients are on two to three anticonvulsants and are still suffering from intractable epilepsy prior to surgery."

To conduct this study, the researchers analyzed the cases of 399 consecutive patients who underwent epilepsy surgery to remove the focal region of their disease in the brain at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., between 1988 and 1996. There were 214 females and 185 males, and the average age at surgery was 30.

Prior to surgery, quality of life is poor for these patients, the Mayo Clinic researchers explain.

"These patients typically can't dr

Contact: Lisa Lucier
Mayo Clinic

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