Epilepsy and Seizures

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

When do doctors decide that epilepsy surgery is the best treatment option?

Dr. Barbara Phillips discusses how doctors decide if a patient will benefit from epilepsy surgery. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


A person with seizures that do not respond or cannot be controlled after trying a variety of different medicines is a candidate for epilepsy surgery. Most patients who need surgery have partial seizures, or seizures that begin in one part of the brain. To determine if surgery is a good option, doctors will perform more intense monitoring. This usually involves admitting patients to the hospital to monitor and record their seizure activity.

Evaluation may involve specialized MRI and other imaging tests, neuropsychological testing and sometimes an exam (called water testing) to see if memory can be supported by the part of the brain that will be left after surgery. Testing is also done to determine exactly where the seizures are coming from and whether there is a higher risk to memory or speech ability. We discuss that with the patient as we determine whether surgery is appropriate. Once all testing is complete, doctors decide if a patient will benefit from surgery.

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