Epilepsy Program

Surgical Treatments

The Stanford Comprehensive Epilepsy Program offers leading-edge epilepsy brain surgery techniques. Epilepsy medications are effective in approximately two-thirds of people with epilepsy. The remaining one-third do not obtain good seizure control or have intolerable side effects from the medications.

If your seizures cannot be controlled with medications, you may be a good candidate for surgery to cure epilepsy. The key to epilepsy surgery is localization of the precise source of the seizure in your brain.

For localization, various types of diagnostic information are gathered. But the most important test results that doctors rely on are:

In cases where there are uncertainties about the source of your seizures, Stanford offers intracranial monitoring with electrode probes that are placed inside your brain to find the source. Our epilepsy doctors and neurosurgeons work together to place grids of electrodes over the surface of your brain or depth electrodes in its deeper structures.

Functional Mapping

Functional mapping involves neurosurgeons placing electrodes in the form of wires or flexible sheets (called strips and grids) on or in brain tissue to map the precise origin of seizures. Grid electrodes can be used both for recording and stimulating brain tissue to identify the underlying function of that region, such as language, sensation or motor function.

Implanted electrodes (black dots) capture the origin of seizures.

Mapping identifies brain regions that are involved in specific functions like recognizing faces. The map of where seizures arise helps surgeons avoid these critical areas while operating. Invasive electrodes remain in place for a few days up to 1-2 weeks to record and map seizures. They are then removed and epilepsy surgery is performed, if findings indicate you are a good candidate for surgery.

Wada (Intracarotid Amobarbital) Test

The Wada (intracarotid amobarbital) test is done to localize speech and memory functions in some candidates for epilepsy surgery.

Other Procedures

Other specialized procedures are performed less often but may work for some patients with epilepsy.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

Footer Links: