Surgery Showing Promise For Some Epileptics

Brain Surgery An Option When Medications Fail To Control Seizures

Published On: Mar 30 2012 05:01:32 PM EDT
image epilepsy
WESTON, Fla. -

Monica Agudelo, 32, was fearful she would never be able to have children.

Diagnosed with epilepsy in her teens, Agudelo worried about the risk of birth defects from her anti-seizure medication.

"And if I just went off the medication, risk of seizure would be so great it would also be dangerous for me and my baby," she said.

Agudelo posed her predicament to doctors at Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Fla.

"Monica was like many people with epilepsy; medication wasn't fully controlling her seizures but she would certainly be much worse without it," said Dr. Adriana Rodriguez.

Agudelo was sent to the hospitals epilepsy monitoring unit where doctors were able to pin-point the source of her seizures.

"We discovered that the seizures were coming from her right temporal lobe," said Rodriguez.

Doctors at Cleveland Clinic Ohio were able to successfully removed the affected section of her brain.

"The idea is you will just be losing the part of your brain that's causing the epilepsy but not affecting any other part of you," said Rodriguez.

After the operation, Agudelo said her seizures stopped.

"I couldn't believe it, it was almost immediate," Agudelo said.

"Surgery is not necessarily a cure, it just makes refractory epilepsy controllable with medication," said Rodriguez.

Agudelo decided to take a calculated risk and went off her anti-seizure medications in the hopes of getting pregnant.

She is now expecting her first child.

"I have a normal life, God gave me a normal life, thank God," she said.

Surgery used to be considered a last resort if medication failed to control seizures and it was often delayed for years.

Researchers have found that performing surgery as early as possible on patients who's seizures are not controlled with medication is a better approach.