• At least 30 to 40% of people with epilepsy continue to have seizures despite optimal treatment with anti-seizure medications. Recent data from the National Health Interview Survey suggest this number may be much higher. Only 44% of people taking seizure medications reported being seizure free.
  • Surgery to control seizures may be an option for these people. There is good medical evidence that surgery is an effective and safe option for many people with drug-resistant epilepsy.
  • Consider evaluation for surgery if your seizures are not well controlled after adequate trials of treatment on two appropriate seizure medications.
  • People are carefully selected for surgery based on the type of seizures, frequency of seizures, and location of seizures in the brain.
  • With advances, options in surgical treatments have expanded the number of people that epilepsy surgery can help.
  • People who were not considered candidates for surgery in the past should be re-evaluated. New surgical therapies may be able to help them now.
  • In recent years, surgery is being considered earlier and has led to an improvement in outcomes.
  • The risk of bodily injury, accidental death, and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is increased for people with uncontrolled seizures.
  • If you continue to have seizures despite treatment with medication or diet therapy, ask your doctor to refer you to a Level 4 Comprehensive Epilepsy Center for further evaluation and treatment of your epilepsy.
  • The Epilepsy Foundation is committed to supporting research that helps to discover and improve treatments, including research that advances the safety and effectiveness of surgical therapies for people living with epilepsy.

For more information about epilepsy surgery, or to find help linking to an epilepsy center near you, call 1-800-332-1000 and speak with our caring team of professionals.

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Authored By: 
Elaine Kiriakopoulos MD, MSc
Authored Date: 
Reviewed By: 
Mohamad Koubeissi MD
Sandra Dewar PhD, RN, MS
Monday, October 15, 2018