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VIDEO: Hemispherectomy, A Radical Epilepsy Surgery That Removes Half of Brain

VIDEO: Hemispherectomy, A Radical Epilepsy Surgery That Removes Half of Brain

CLEVELAND — It’s a surgery that many wouldn’t think makes sense — removing half of the brain to reduce epileptic seizures.

But doctors at the Cleveland Clinic have been doing it for years and now a new study shows it’s working.

It’s called a hemispherectomy, and after studying 186 patients, they found it also helps them walk and talk better.

Dr. Ajay Gupta treats pediatric epilepsy cases at Cleveland Clinic.

“We found that 80 percent of children learn to walk after surgery,” he said. “Seventy-five or 80 percent of children have no vision deficit. We found that 70 percent of children learn to speak at or close to their age.”

rasmussen-syndrome-12616_1The surgery is only for children who are the extreme cases of epilepsy and when medication no longer works.

Seventy-five percent of study participants were having daily seizures despite taking multiple medications. Results showed more than half were seizure free following surgery, and another 15 percent had their seizures reduced by 90 percent.

Researchers also found 83 percent walked independently, 70 percent had better language skills, and almost 60 percent were in mainstream schools with some assistance.

“Surgery not only makes them seizure-free, but having seizure-freedom helps them learn more, do more and gain a higher academic, social, as well as occupational potential,” Gupta said.

However, he adds over the long term learning to read seemed to be the most difficult task for the children. Post-op efforts may be geared toward reading and learning.

SOURCE: http://www.wkyc.com/news/article/311678/3/Radical-epilepsy-surgery-removes-half-of-brain

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  1. My 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease 2 years ago called Rasmussen’s encephalitis. She will be having this surgery on 9/5. In some cases there is no other option but surgery. She is well aware of the out come and welcomes the surgery with open arms. She says I would rather not have use of parts of my body than to continue to have seizures the way she has.

  2. My baby has intractable epilepsy with myoclonic and tonic clonic seizures…we have now tried EVERY Med available for her age (19 months) She is developmentally delated with no genetic diagnosis and just did whole exome sequencing..waiting on results…i am scared but may talk w our Dr about this.

  3. Thank you. @Newlight I’m so sorry to hear about your baby. I know its heartbreaking to watch your child go through this and there is nothing that you can do. Are her myoclonic seizures on one side? Normally a hemispherectomy is used in cases where only one side of the body is effected. However it never hurts to ask. From all I have read the younger they are the better the outcome. Good luck, we will be praying for you and your family.

  4. Yeah,,,,,, ummm not making much sense in the least, radical is a understatement..

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