epilepsy surgery

The Journey to Epilepsy Surgery: What You Need to Know

People with epilepsy need accurate and current information about treatments available to control seizures. It is important to know:

  • Recent national survey data suggests that 56% of adults taking seizure medications report having seizures in the past year.
  • Studies show that between 30 to 40% of people have drug resistant epilepsy.
  • Only 5 to 10% of people with drug resistant epilepsy will achieve complete seizure control with different or more seizure medicines.
  • Some types of epilepsy surgery may lead to seizure freedom and an improved quality of life in up to 80% of people with drug resistant epilepsy.

Epilepsy surgery can be overwhelming to consider. Many people are unsure if surgery can help them. Surgery needs to be considered as an option for people whose seizures are not controlled with medications, dietary therapy, or implanted devices.


Download this factsheet to learn about how epilepsy surgery works, when surgery may be recommended, and what types of surgery may help.

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Learn more about the journey to epilepsy surgery and beyond.

What is epilepsy surgery?

Epilepsy surgery has been a treatment used to help control seizures for over 100 years! Improvements in modern methods have made epilepsy surgery safer and more available than ever before. Get started with an overview of epilepsy surgery.

What is an epilepsy center?

Learn how a hospital dedicated to epilepsy treatment can assist with your journey to surgery and who are the key members of an epilepsy team.

Who can epilepsy surgery help?

Learn about when to consider surgery and why every person with uncontrolled seizures should discuss the possibility of epilepsy surgery with their doctor.

What are goals and expectations related to surgery?

Every treatment a doctor recommends has an intended goal. Learn about general treatment goals, setting personal goals, and managing expectations around epilepsy surgery.

What are the risks and benefits of surgery?

All surgery has some risk associated with it. Learn about risks related to epilepsy surgery and how they compare to the risks of uncontrolled seizures. Understand the benefits of surgical treatment, including the potential for freedom from seizures, the possibility of reducing anti-seizure medication, and an improved in quality of life.

What testing is done prior to epilepsy surgery?

Careful planning for surgery leads to better results. Read about the different types of testing done prior to surgery.

What are the different types of epilepsy surgery?

Advances in science and technology have led to new epilepsy surgery options. Learn about the different types of epilepsy surgery currently available.

How do I prepare for epilepsy surgery?

Your epilepsy team has determined that surgery could help control your seizures. Read about what you can do to prepare yourself, and your family, in the days and weeks prior to surgery.

What can I expect during my recovery from surgery?

Recovering from epilepsy surgery is different for every person. The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you will be. Learn about general aspects of recovering from surgery and the impact surgery may have on you and your family.

This is a lot of information. Where can I find a summary of fast facts about epilepsy surgery?

Find some quick facts about epilepsy surgery. Use this to talk with your epilepsy team about whether surgery could help you.

Thank You

The Epilepsy Foundation is grateful for support from Mayo Clinic and their epilepsy medical and surgical experts in helping prepare this section of epilepsy.com. The Epilepsy Foundation is solely responsible for editorial oversight and management of this content.

For more information about epilepsy surgery, or to find help linking to an epilepsy center near you, call 1-800-332-1000 (en Español 1-866-748-8008) and speak with our caring team of professionals.

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