Researchers treating epilepsy with lasers to avoid brain surgery


ST. LOUIS (KTVI) — Researchers at a hospital in St. Louis say they’re using lasers to avoid the traditional practice of opening the skull for brain surgery to help cure epilepsy.

From monitoring and evaluation to treatment and surgery, the nationally accredited 8-patient Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is fully equipped to care for patients affected by epilepsy and seizures.

Designated a level 4 epilepsy center, the highest level possible, by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, SLU Hospital’s team of epilepsy specialists can provide the more complex forms of intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring, as well as more extensive medical, neuropsychological, and psychosocial treatment.

SLU Hospital also offers a complete evaluation for epilepsy surgery, including intracranial electrodes and a broad range of surgical procedures for epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a condition that causes unprovoked, recurrent seizures. The seizures result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain, which can cause strange sensations, loss of muscle control, or loss of consciousness. This common neurological disorder can affect people of all ages and has many causes.

There are many types of epilepsy syndromes defined by a specific set of features, such as the cause of the seizures, what provokes the seizures, the area of the brain affected, and how severe and frequent the seizures are. Classifying your epilepsy can help you and your doctor determine what treatments may be the most effective. In general, epilepsy is often defined in two broad categories: generalized epilepsy and focal epilepsy.

Dr. Dan Weber, a SLUCare neurologist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, says that the team of highly trained neurologists will work with each patient to determine the best way to treat seizures. Many patients who come to SLU Hospital have exhausted all traditional options such as seizure medications and lifestyle changes, and come to SLUH to determine what to do next.

The treatment plan will depend on determining the type and cause of epilepsy. If medication and lifestyle changes have been unsuccessful, surgery may be another viable option. In certain cases, surgery can dramatically improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy. Ideal candidates for epilepsy surgery are those whose seizures originate from a single location in the brain.

To learn more about Neurosciences at SLU Hospital, click here.

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