Surgery to relieve drug-resistant epileptic seizures succeeds 70 percent of the time, but it must stop all seizures to give patients significantly improved job prospects and longevity, a study found.
Even a substantial reduction in the frequency of seizures did not improve patients’ ability to hold jobs or live longer, the study found. Patients had to be cured to improve in either area.
An estimated 100,000 Americans may be candidates for such surgery, the authors said in today’s issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study looked at 89 patients who had surgery on the temporal lobes of their brains to remove tissue where a malfunction in electrical signals triggered epileptic seizures resistant to drug treatment.
Five years after surgery, 62 patients were free of seizures; eight had seizures on fewer than three days per year or had night seizures only; 10 had more than an 80 percent reduction in seizure frequency; five had less than an 80 percent reduction in seizure frequency; and four died of causes unrelated to the surgery.