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If your child’s seizures are not well controlled with medications or are the result of a brain tumor or structural abnormality, epilepsy surgery may be an appropriate treatment. The Epilepsy Program at Atlantic Health System Children’s Health offers pre-surgical testing and procedures designed to restore neurological function and improve quality of life.

Surgical Evaluation

Imaging

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and positron emission tomography (PET) help us precisely locate the source of epileptic activity in the brain.

Neuropsychology

A neuropsychologist will perform a cognitive assessment of your child’s language, memory, attention span and problem-solving skills to identify if brain dysfunction is in the frontal or temporal lobe. These tests are repeated after the surgery to measure its effectiveness.

Intracarotid Memory and Speech Evaluation

The Wada Test helps us determine which side of the brain your child uses for language and memory. During the exam, we’ll inject anesthesia into each brain hemisphere and ask your child to perform a variety of tasks. Whether or not they succeed reveals the location of the brain function in question.

Intracranial Monitoring

If our neurologists suspect epileptic activity is confined to a particular area, they may recommend implanting electrodes directly on the surface of the brain to record electrical activity from the cerebral cortex. It may take up to five days to obtain the necessary data, after which we remove the electrodes.

Types of Epilepsy Surgery

Lobectomy
– Removes a section of the temporal, parietal, frontal or occipital lobes where seizure activity is occurring
Hemispherectomy
– Removes most or all of the side of the brain responsible for seizures
Corpus callostomy
– Treats uncontrolled, generalized seizures by separating the nerve bridge that connects the two halves of the brain
Multiple sub-pial transection
– Cuts nerve pathways when epileptic activity originates in areas of the brain that cannot be removed
Vagal nerve stimulator (VNS) placement
– Prevents seizures by sending electrical signals to the brain via a device implanted near the collarbone
Functional brain mapping and awake craniotomy
– Aids preoperative planning and allows surgeons to test neurological functions – such as sensory input, language and memory – during surgery

Surgical Recovery

The normal recovery time after epilepsy surgery is two to eight weeks. Most patients experience less seizures or seizures that are not as intense and can reduce their medication. Some may have no seizures at all, but we still recommend taking anti-epileptic medication to prevent any recurrence of symptoms.

Locations

Atlantic Health Children’s Specialty Center at Morristown

Atlantic Health Children’s Specialty Center at Overlook

Atlantic Health Children’s Specialty Center at Wayne

Atlantic Health Children’s Specialty Center at Flemington


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