Epilepsy and Seizures

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about epilepsy and seizures.

What other surgeries are used to treat epilepsy?

Dr. Barbara Phillips discusses the different kinds of surgical procedures used to treat epilepsy. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


The most common epilepsy surgery is temporal lobectomy. This removes all or part of the temporal lobe of the brain. Other surgeries involve taking out lesions, such as tumors, or abnormal blood vessel abnormalities such as tangles of abnormal blood vessels called arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) or benign tumors formed by blood vessels, called cavernous angiomas. These procedures are called lesionectomies because they involve the removal of an abnormal area of the brain.

Before a lesion can be removed, the doctor must make sure that it is not located near an area of the brain that would impact speech or motor function. Patients receive a pre-surgical work-up, including brain imaging and EEG studies, to ensure a lesionectomy can be performed safely.

If a lesion is the cause of a patient’s seizures, a neurosurgeon will remove the lesion and any surrounding areas of the brain from which the seizure may start.

A corpus callosotomy is a procedure that cuts the large fiber bundle that connects the two halves of the brain. This is usually done for children with extremely severe seizures that are very frequent and that cannot be treated by removing part of the brain. The goal is to disrupt the connections that cause severe seizures in order to protect the brain.

A functional hemispherectomy isolates one side of the brain by disconnecting all the connections. This surgery is only used in very rare circumstances in children with specific infections.

Source: Barbara Phillips, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute; Arshi Naz, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute