When your epilepsy cannot be controlled with medications, you might be considering epilepsy surgery. Brain resection surgery is the most common type of epilepsy surgery performed. Brain resection surgery is also a treatment option for some brain tumor patients. While medications are always a first line of treatment for epilepsy patients, resection surgery of the brain may provide seizure or symptom relief you have been desiring.
Denver neurosurgeons at Neurosurgery One are epilepsy and brain tumor experts, ensuring all viable treatment options are considered and understood by you before making a decision. We partner with your neurologist so that any surgical options meet your overall treatment goals, while carefully weighing the risks and benefits. We use the most recent evidence-based research to inform our recommendations and empower you with the information to make the best decision for you.
For epilepsy patients, brain resection surgery involves removing a small portion of the brain responsible for causing seizures. This area of the brain is referred to as the seizure focus. For brain tumor patients, the goal of brain resection surgery is to remove all or a portion of your brain tumor to alleviate as many symptoms as possible. Brain resection surgery does require making a small hole in the skull, a procedure known as a craniotomy, to access the portion of the brain causing seizures or symptoms.
FAQs About Brain Resection Surgery
Continue reading below to learn more about brain resection surgery, or click on one of these links to go directly to the information you are interested in:
- How is brain resection surgery for epilepsy performed?
- How is resection surgery for brain tumors performed?
- What are the different kinds brain resection surgeries for epilepsy?
- What are the types of brain resection surgery for brain tumors?
- Am I a candidate for brain resection surgery?
- What are the benefits and risks of brain resection surgery?
- What should I consider before undergoing resection surgery for my seizures or brain tumor?
- What is recovery like following brain resection surgery?
Conditions We Treat
How is brain resection surgery for epilepsy performed?
For both epilepsy and brain tumor patients undergoing brain resection surgery, a craniotomy must be performed. A craniotomy is a temporary opening in the skull, which allows the surgeon to access the tumor or portion of the brain that requires removal.
Brain resection surgery for epilepsy involves removing a small portion of the brain responsible for causing seizures. This area of the brain is referred to as the seizure focus.
How is resection surgery for brain tumors performed?
Brain tumor patients undergoing resection surgery will need a craniotomy, which is a procedure that creates a temporary opening in the skull. The opening gives the surgeon access the tumor that needs to be removed.
Some brain tumor patients may benefit from awake craniotomy, which allows the neurosurgeon to test areas of the brain that could be affected by the resection.
Depending on the consistency of the tumor, resection surgery for brain tumors might involve removing the tumor with a scalpel or scissors, laser ablation, suction, or ultrasonic aspirator.
What are the different kinds brain resection surgeries for epilepsy?
There are three main types of resection surgery for epilepsy patients: temporal lobe resection, frontal lobe resection, and parietal and/or occipital lobe resection.
- Temporal lobe resection is the most common type of epilepsy resection surgery and has the highest success rate. Temporal lobe resection is also known as lobotomy surgery as an entire lobe of the brain (temporal lobe in this case) is removed. Temporal lobe epilepsy surgery outcomes are generally positive, as nearly 70% of people who undergo a temporal lobe resection experience no or rare disabling seizures following surgery. In temporal-lobe epilepsy, surgery is superior to prolonged medical therapy.
- Frontal lobe resection is the second most common type of epilepsy surgery. Although this type of lobotomy for epilepsy does not have as high of success rates as high as temporal lobe procedures, studies show that up to 50% of patients are seizure-free after surgery.
- Parietal and/or occipital lobe resection provides the highest chance of success in patients who have a structural abnormality, such as a tumor or scar tissue, that causes seizures.
What are the types of brain resection surgery for brain tumors?
Resections for brain tumors can be full or partial. A full resection occurs when the entire tumor is removed, and a partial resection involves removing only a portion of the tumor. Brain tumor resections can also be performed during awake or asleep craniotomies; the type of procedure is based on the type and location of the tumor.
Am I a candidate for brain resection surgery?
Your eligibility for brain resection surgery depends on your diagnosis, the location of the tumor or seizure focus, and access to the area of the brain causing symptoms.
You might be a candidate for brain resection surgery for epilepsy if your seizures meet the following criteria:
- Originate from non-critical brain regions that don’t affect movement, speech, vision, or memory
- Arise from one area of the brain
If you are a brain tumor patient, you eligibility for brain resection surgery will be based on the type, location, and consistency of the tumor.
What are the benefits and risks of brain resection surgery?
Based on the type of seizures and brain resection surgery performed, epilepsy patients may experience the following benefits:
- Improvements in both social and cognitive measurements.
- Reduced risk of seizure emergencies, injuries, and death.
- Elimination of or reduction in seizure medications.
- Reduced likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression.
- Increased likelihood of returning to work and being able to drive.
- Reduced costs associated with epilepsy treatment.
For some brain tumor patients, brain resection surgery can lead to the complete removal of the brain tumor and accompanying symptoms. For other patients, brain resection surgery can decrease side effects caused by the tumor and prolong life.
As with all brain surgeries, risk of infection, speech or memory issues, stroke, loss of motor skills or vision, and an increase in seizures or symptoms are possible side effects of brain resections.
What should I consider before undergoing resection surgery for my seizures or brain tumor?
You should carefully review the benefits and risks of any procedure with your neurologist and neurosurgeon. If you have reached a point in your epilepsy treatment in which medications no longer control your seizures to the extent you would like, you might consider epilepsy surgery options like a brain resection. Similarly, if your brain tumor symptoms are interfering with your quality of life, brain resection surgery may provide you with a treatment option.
As with any surgical procedure, you should also consider if there are minimally invasive procedures that may be an option for your epilepsy symptoms or brain tumor diagnosis. It’s important to have a network of support, including family and friends, who can assist you with preparation for the surgical procedure and recovery afterward.
What is recovery like following brain resection surgery?
Similar to craniotomy recovery, patients typically spend 1-2 days in the ICU after brain resection surgery and then 1-2 days recovering in the hospital before going home.
In rare occasions, epilepsy and brain tumor patients who undergo brain resection surgery may need inpatient rehabilitation before going home. The benefits of brain resection surgery for epilepsy begin immediately after surgery.