Monday, November 3, 2008

The reason to consider surgery

While the purpose of the site is more general, the author has a decided interest in surgery! Also, my patients are the most likely to be looking for answers to certain questions, so I find it good from time to time to address broad, general ideas that help put the specific questions into context.

Please note: THIS SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SPECIFIC MEDICAL ADVICE TO ANY PATIENT. If you have any specific questions about your case and want to talk to me, just call and make an appointment. I'd love to see you as a physician and try to help. Here, though, I'm just a fellow human sharing some general ideas and knowledge about a topic I love.

To boil the argument for surgery down to about as simple as it gets, most people who continue to have seizures after starting on drugs, continue to have seizures on drugs. The only way to cure the seizures in most of these patients is to find the source, determine if it can be safely removed, and if so, take it out. In certain epilespys, many quote a seizure free rate of about 80%. Randomized, controlled trials have shown lower rates, but clearly better outcomes than medical management alone.

CURE, an organization dedicated to fighting epilepsy, is known for the slogan "no seizures, no side effects," a truly wonderful goal. While the side effects of seizure surgery are usually minimal compared to the quality of life issues associated with continued seizures, the risks of catastrophic problems are always present, and must be explicitly considered. Over coming months, i will talk more specifically about many of these issues.

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