Epilepsy Surgery Brings Long-Term Seizure Relief

Most patients remain attack-free decades later, study finds

TUESDAY, June 14, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery to correct especially tough-to-treat epilepsy can have lasting benefits, according to a new study.

"Few studies have looked at the long-term prognosis for epilepsy surgery. We found that 50 percent of the patients were free of seizures 30 years after the surgery," study author Dr. William H. Theodore, of the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said in a prepared statement.

The findings are published in the June 14 issue of Neurology.

Surgery is an option for epilepsy patients who don't respond to medication. This study looked at 48 people who had a temporal lobectomy -- surgical removal of the portion of the brain where seizures most often occur -- an average of 30 years previous to the study.

The patients or their families were asked about seizures experienced at one, five, 10 and 30 years after surgery. At 30 years after surgery, 14 people were still free of seizures and taking no epilepsy drugs, while another 10 were free of seizures but taking epilepsy medications.

Patients who had seizure recur within the first year following surgery were most likely to suffer seizures in later years, the study found.

"These results suggest a good prognosis for long-term seizure control after temporal lobectomy," Theodore said.

More information

The Epilepsy Foundation has more about epilepsy surgery.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, June 13, 2005
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