Epilepsy is the result of abnormal brain cell activity that induces seizures. This disorder commonly occurs when there is a genetic disorder, significant brain trauma due to having a stroke, and serious head injuries. In some instances, the cause of epilepsy is unknown. Doctors will run a number of tests to discover the underlying cause of a patients seizures to offer the proper treatment.
Regardless of the cause, Doctors will typically start patients off with anti-seizure medications, also known as anti-epileptics. Sometimes it will take many trials of medications to find the right type, dose, or combination of drugs that will allow a patient to live seizure free. In some cases, patients are not able to eliminate seizures completely through medications, but the frequency and intensity will be significantly reduced. There has also recently been a lot of studies which show that treatment with cbd hemp oil can be effective at treating epilepsy.
However, a different treatment option could provide additional benefits if the medications have shown not to improve a patients condition.
Stimulation Of The Vagus Nerve
Should medications not give results, doctors may decide to implant a vagus nerve stimulation device into a patients chest. This device goes directly under the skin near a patients chest, similar to that of a pacemaker. This device has wires that attach to the vagus nerve that runs through a patients neck. This device will send out short electrical bursts from the nerve into the brain through the small battery inside of the device. This method’s known to decrease the amount of seizures a patient has by as much as 40%. Combined with anti-epileptic medications, patients could live a seizure free life.
A more invasive form of treatment requires the use of two different surgical options. The first choice is for patients whose seizures originate from a certain portion of the brain that has no effect of the patients speech, vision, hearing, or motor skills. The patient will have laboratory testing to decide which part of the brain it effects before having surgery. This surgery will require a surgeon to remove the part of the brain causing seizures, thus eliminating the problematic area and alleviating the seizures.
The second surgical option’s required for patients whose seizures are found in areas of the brain that control vital bodily functions. With this surgery, patients are awake during the surgery so the surgeon can monitor their vital functions and ask the patient questions. Since that part of the brain effects motor functions, it cannot be removed. Instead, the surgeon will make several cuts, also known as subpial transection, in that area of the brain. These cuts will help reduce the amount and intensity of seizures, if not eliminate them permanently. This option also prevents the seizures from spreading to other parts of the patients brain.