Epilepsy surgery is only considered for people who have epilepsy with a focal cause. This means that the seizures consistently come from the same part of the brain each time – this may be because of a tumour, or a brain injury, fever or infection that has damaged brain tissue. If the doctors are able to find the part of the brain where the seizures are coming from, then they may be able to successfully remove it and stop or reduce the seizures.
Although only a small number of children and adults are deemed suitable candidates for surgery, the operation can be very successful and lead to reduced seizures and improved quality of life. However, it is not without risks and considerable testing takes place before your doctor determines whether you are a candidate for surgery. This means that you need to weigh up the risks and benefits of surgery in the context of your family, work and other commitments, to determine whether it is the right choice for you, or whether this is the right time to have surgery.
Although surgery for epilepsy is common, more successful and safer than ever before it is still a major operation. Electing to have surgery is a big decision and should be made with a realistic picture of the benefits, the risks, and the chances of complete or partial control of seizures in mind.
If you are not deemed a suitable candidate your doctor may recommend other treatments, such as diets or a Vagal Nerve Stimulator, which may reduce the number of seizures you experience.