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HealthScene Ohio: Epilepsy Laser Surgery Options

There have been huge leaps when it comes to medical advancements in a number of spaces. One of the biggest might be in the world of Epilepsy. Now hospital systems are using laser techniques to pinpoint what is causing a seizure in epilepsy patients and trying to stop that point from triggering. Dr. Emily Klatte is the system medical chief for epilepsy with OhioHealth. She told Healthscene Ohio Magazine that laser options are turning out very strong data.

“It’s a minimally invasive technique to surgically treat seizures. The first step is figuring out where in the brain the seizures start," Klatte said.  "Then, if we feel the seizures come from a small enough area that is not a very eloquent part of the brain – for instance, the part that generates language – our neurosurgeon can insert a laser catheter through a small burr hole in the back of the brain.

The technique can be very delicate, and with any brain surgery, each move makes a difference. 

"With MRI guidance, the surgeon can carefully guide the catheter to the area where we believe the seizures to be starting. The laser catheter generates localized heat that burns or ablates the tissue that is generating seizures. The goal of the procedure is to decrease seizure frequency or stop the seizures altogether,” Klatte said.

Anytime you try a technique like a laser surgery, there is going to be some risk. But for many, they determine that the reward is worth that risk.

“So far, our outcomes are similar to what is being seen nationally, which is 60-80 percent seizure reduction or seizure freedom following the procedure,” Klatte told Healthscene Ohio. “I think most of us are hesitant to say we ever cure epilepsy, as there is a chance that seizures could start up again, even later in life. But we certainly hope to at least decrease the seizure burden and render our patients seizure-free for years, allowing for improvement in their quality of life. It has been very rewarding to see several patients become seizure-free following this procedure.”

The procedure might not be for everyone. It is very important, according to doctors and surgeons, to fully consult with your team and your family.

“We want to help decrease seizures and improve the quality of life for patients with epilepsy. For instance, if we can reduce or eliminate seizures, the patient can hopefully be more independent, begin driving again, return to work and decrease medication side effects,” Klatte said. “Also, so far, the medical literature shows that there can be less risk of memory deficits with laser ablation compared to traditional respective brain surgeries.

To read the entire article from Healthscene Ohio, click here.