Epilepsy and surgery - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Epilepsy and surgery


Madison (WKOW) -- The Epilepsy Foundation estimates 200,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year.

  45,000 cases are in kids under 15.

  When medicine doesn't control seizures, surgery can.

  As Vince Sherry reports, some doctors would like to see younger patients opt for the surgical option earlier.

  15-year old Jessica Wilson has a lot to look forward to.

  She said, "driving is coming up in the next couple years."

  Just a year ago, driving wasn't a realistic goal for Jessica.

  She's had epilepsy since she was six.

  Her seizures were unpredictable.

  Debbie Wilson, Jessica's mother, said "the longest she went without a seizure was four months on one of the drugs... But then they would start back up again."

  After multiple medicines failed, the Wilsons decided to see if Jessica was a candidate for epilepsy-curing brain surgery.

  Dr. Deborah Holder said, "surgery in many cases is a chance to cure the epilepsy, the seizures go away, and you can come off medication and live the rest of your life with no seizures."

  Patients are hospitalized for two or more weeks with electrodes attached to the brain.

  Although hard to watch, this seizure helped doctors pinpoint the area of Jessica's brain that was triggering the problem.

  Dr. Holder added, "your seizures have to be coming from one area of the brain and they have to, it has to be an area that we can safely go in and take out."

  One year after brain surgery, Jessica's medicine- and seizure-free.

  Debbie Wilson said, "as a parent, like i felt that i was giving her every opportunity to lead a normal life by having this done."

  Doctor Holder would like to see more families explore the possiblity of surgery.

  She said, "we're doing surgery now on much younger patients. We've done, done kids as young as two years. Our goal would be to get rid of the epilepsy before the patient even knows they have seizures to try to cure the disease before it really affects their quality of life."

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