The Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a new minimally invasive laser-based tool for epilepsy surgery that helps to shorten the time it takes for patients to recuperate. While the research is still ongoing, the earliest results of the research are encouraging and have been presented at the American Academy of Neurology.
For decades, the most common treatment that was used for patients suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy has been brain surgery. The surgery is called a temporal lobectomy, and is comprised of doctors taking out a small circle of the skull and probing into the brain that is where the seizures originating from. The surgery works on 80 percent of patients when the seizures are localized, but the recoup time is a long one. The new technique developed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic shortens this time and will be available soon, says co-author W. Richard Marsh, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon.
“We continue to investigate this new minimally invasive technique that could change how epilepsy surgery is done,” Marsh says.
So far, 14 patients have had the surgery, and the results are positive. The procedure can viewed online at the Mayo Clinic News Network (http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/). This new surgery may help in treating drug-resistant patients with epilepsy who aren’t responding to anti-seizure drugs like Topamax. Topamax has been linked to an increased risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts, as well as birth defects in women whose babies are exposed to the drug in-utero. Some of those birth defects linked to Topamax use during pregnancy include cleft lips, cleft palates, genital defects and other birth malformations.
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