Epilepsy Surgery: Who is a Candidate?

Because some people with epilepsy can benefit from surgery, the American Academy of Neurology, American Epilepsy Society, and American Association of Neurological Surgeons recommend that all patients with epilepsy who do not get better with standard first-line anticonvulsant medications should be re-evaluated within a thorough epilepsy program.

Among Americans who develop epilepsy, up to 70 percent will have their seizures adequately controlled by medication. Thirty percent or more may continue to have seizures that are not controlled by drugs. Of these patients, about one in three will meet the criteria for surgery. Whether surgery is right for any patient can only be determined by a detailed evaluation, such as that available at a comprehensive epilepsy center.

The earlier in life seizures can be controlled, the more likely an individual will develop normal interpersonal skills and integrate successfully into society. There is essentially no risk of death in any age group from modern epilepsy surgery, and the age of the patient does not impact the opportunity for good results.