Epilepsy Surgery

The goal of surgical treatment is to eliminate the abnormal electrical discharges from the brain that result in seizure disorders. This is done through a variety of surgical techniques such as removal of abnormal brain tissue, disconnection of abnormal brain tissue from the surrounding normal brain structures and procedures that modulate the abnormal function of the brain to restore normal neurological function.

The UNC Comprehensive Epilepsy program offers a full spectrum of therapy for patients with seizure disorders. The Epilepsy Center has state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and detailed experience with medical, surgical and device therapies. The Center offers comprehensive multidisciplinary care from epileptologists, epilepsy nurse practitioners, neuropsychologists, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, neuroradiologists, and case managers/social workers. We also offer pre-surgical evaluation for refractory epilepsy, various types of focal resective epilepsy surgery, vagus nerve stimulator, and corpus callosotomy.  Surgery for epilepsy may be performed for some people who have seizures that cannot controlled by antiepileptic medications.

The two main goals of epilepsy surgery are:

  • To greatly improve a patient’s seizure control; and
  • To improve the quality of his or her life.

Although some patients become seizure-free after this surgery, not all do. To ensure that patients have the best chance for a good outcome, it is necessary to go through many vigorous and comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluations tailored to the individual patient. These tests may include: Diagnostic Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) evaluation, Phase I evaluation with an Ictal and Interictal SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) study, MRI of Brain, Interictal PET Scan, neuropsychology testing, psychiatric evaluation, Wada test, functional brain MRI, MEG (from WFU Baptist Hospital), surgery conference, and Phase II evaluation with intracranial monitoring.

In addition, we are actively involved in outreach services to teach the physicians in the community and the lay community about the latest epilepsy care as well as clinical research.