Epilepsy surgery involves a neurosurgical procedure where an area of the brain involved in seizures is either resected, disconnected or stimulated. The goal is to eliminate seizures or significantly reduce seizure burden. Approximately 60% of all people with epilepsy (0.4% of the population of industrialized countries) have focal epilepsy syndromes. In 15 to 20% of these patients, the condition is not adequately controlled with anticonvulsive drugs. Such patients are potential candidates for surgical epilepsy treatment.
First line therapy for epilepsy involves treatment with anticonvulsive drugs, also called antiepileptic drugs. Most patients will respond to one or two different medication trials. The goal of this treatment is the elimination of seizures, since uncontrolled seizures carry significant risks, including injury and sudden death. However, in up to one third of patients with epilepsy, medications alone do not eliminate seizures, and/or cause adverse effects. In these patients, epilepsy surgery is considered as an alternate treatment method to medications.