At Arkansas Children’s, our board-certified and fellowship-trained neurosurgeons and neurologists work together for the surgical treatment of epilepsy in children. In many cases, surgical intervention can stop seizures completely.

Fast Facts about Epilepsy Surgery

Epilepsy surgery has never been safer and is a great option for children who have tried medications and still have no relief from seizures. 

  • Between 30-40% of people with epilepsy continue to have seizures while on medications. Surgery is often an option for those people who have uncontrolled seizures while on medications.
  • Patients are evaluated for surgical options based on the type of seizure, medications tried, frequency of seizures and location of seizures in the brain.
  • We use state-of-the art imaging, such as MEG and TMS, to pinpoint areas affected in the brain and deliver the safest and best outcomes for our patients.
  • For up to 80% of people, epilepsy surgery might give them complete freedom from seizures, greatly improving quality of life.

Arkansas Children's has a Level 4 accreditation from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC).

Arkansas Children’s Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Program is the only program in the state with a National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) Level 4 accreditation, providing the most advanced care for children with epilepsy. Our board-certified doctors are trained to evaluate, diagnose and create an individualized plan for your child.

The thought of surgery for your child can be scary, but this is a decision based on input by the patient, parents, and different evaluations and testing that can take place over weeks to months. Our team uses state-of-the-art imaging and testing to understand exactly the area of the brain where seizures begin to help determine what type of procedure is best for your child.

Some of these tests, such as the electroencephalogram (EEG) can be done in our clinic – often the same day as your appointment.

There are three types of epilepsy surgery. Each type of procedure has a different purpose. The type of surgery will depend on your child’s needs.

When might epilepsy surgery be an option for my child?

Surgery may be an option for your child if they have drug-resistant intractable seizures. These seizures are not stopped with medicine. They might be able to have epilepsy surgery if they have taken two medicines for seizures and the medications did not help. But, surgery is not for everyone. To learn whether surgery is right for your child they will likely need several tests.

What are the risk and benefits of epilepsy surgery?

Doctors have been doing epilepsy surgery for more than 100 years. It is not an experimental or last-resort treatment. The risks depend on the type of epilepsy surgery. Risks of epilepsy surgery are often short term and include:

  • Memory problems
  • Partial loss of sight
  • Weakness
  • Depression or other mood problems

Benefits from epilepsy surgery

  • No more seizures
  • Fewer disabling (bad) seizures
  • Better quality of life

What should families expect? 

Every child’s experience and needs are different. Our neurosurgeons will guide you through planning for surgery, what tests to expect, risks, benefits, and what to expect after surgery depending on what surgical procedure is best for your child. For more information about epilepsy surgery, visit the Epilepsy Foundation’s website for general information and commonly asked questions. Please make a list of questions and bring with you to your child’s appointment so our team can address any questions and concerns.

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