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Epilepsy Surgery

In cases where recurrent seizure activity causes injuries, causes other health complications or disrupts everyday life in a way that limits independence, a doctor may recommend treating epilepsy with surgery. Used when seizures do not respond to more conservative treatments and are localized in one place in the brain, epilepsy surgery removes the affected area of the brain in order to reduce or potentially even eliminate your seizures. For temporal lobe epilepsy, surgery could potentially relieve seizure activity in more than 80 percent of patients.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder involving episodes of abnormal brain activity that cause seizures. Symptoms include staring spells, loss of consciousness, spells of confusion, and twitching or jerking movements in the arms and legs. While anyone can have a seizure (often caused by high fever or head injury), epilepsy is not diagnosed unless those seizures occur two or more times.

Types of Epilepsy Surgery

Surgeries offered to treat epilepsy at Temple include:

Corpus callosotomy

This procedure severs the connection between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, disrupting the seizure’s ability to spread from one side of the brain to the other via neurons. It is most frequently used to reduce seizure severity in children but is an option for patients of any age.

Focal non-temporal resection

This procedure involves cutting away, or resecting, brain tissue where seizures occur. “Non-temporal” means that the seizure focus is located outside the temporal lobe.


During a lesionectomy, the surgeon removes a small abnormality called a lesion from your brain. A lesion could be anything from an injury scar to a brain tumor to an abnormal blood vessel. Typically this procedure removes less tissue than a temporal or focal non-temporal resection.

Temporal lobe resections

Resection of affected tissue is also an option for patients whose seizure focus lies in the temporal lobe. This is the most common epilepsy procedure and can involve the removal of part or all of the temporal lobe.

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is another procedure used to treat epilepsy. During a VNS procedure, the surgeon does not remove the part of the brain where the seizures occur, but rather implants a device that resembles a pacemaker in the chest. This device stimulates one of the patient’s two vagus nerves (which run down each side of the body from the brainstem down to the abdomen), sending electrical signals to the brain.

Why Temple Health for Epilepsy Surgery?

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at the Neurosciences Center is a premier epilepsy and seizure disorder evaluation and treatment facility. As a result of its comprehensive diagnostic services and wide range of treatment options, the center attracts referrals from both local physicians and from physicians throughout the region. Treatment regimens are tailored by our team of board-certified physicians to meet each patient’s individual needs, and in some cases patients with epilepsy may benefit from surgery.

Our multidisciplinary team of specialists at the Temple Neurosciences Center collaborate to manage epilepsy. Our understanding of the complex problems associated with epilepsy and other seizure disorders will help patients receive the most appropriate and latest treatments.

Ready for an Appointment?

Find a doctor near you, request an appointment, or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.