SURGICAL APPROACHES TO EPILEPSY: SURGERY FOR PARTIAL (FOCAL) SEIZURES – MAKING THE FINAL DECISION

While each step in the process of evaluation of a child for surgery requires careful thought, it is at this point, when all the available information has been collected, that reconsideration of the potential risks and benefits is necessary. We accomplish this with a meeting of the whole team that has been involved in the evaluation. This team includes the epilepsy specialist who has been your child’s primary physician, our group of monitoring specialists, those who have carefully assessed language and intellectual function, our counsellor who has been working closely with the child and the family, and the surgeon who will be performing the operation. At this conference we carefully assess where the seizures appear to be coming from, what surgery can be done to eliminate them, what normal functions might be damaged by the surgery, and the risks and the potential benefits of the surgery. At times we decide that, despite all our careful evaluation, surgery should not be performed. After the group reaches consensus, we then present our opinions to the patient and family, who must make their independent decision on whether or not to proceed with surgery, whether their perception of the risks and benefits is similar to ours.
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