EEG-guided eplipesy surgery can silence seizures not responding to medication

Hart_Image_RTFAfter being controlled for a half a century, Doug Hines' seizures had mysteriously come back.

Doug has lived with epilepsy since the age of 10, when the default treatment was Dilantin and phenobarbital, powerful drugs that can slow normal function. Doug's family did their best to hide his epilepsy and help him lead an otherwise normal life. He had a driver's license and even played high school football. "Kids with epilepsy wouldn't be allowed to do those things nowadays," says Doug, now 61.

Although Doug and his doctors successfully managed his epilepsy with medication most of his life, the seizures began to return about five years ago. The drugs no longer seemed to be working. Doug's physician referred him to Ohio State neurologist Sheri Hart, MD, PhD, who brought Doug in for a series of tests at Ohio State's Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

Under expert medical supervision, Dr. Hart had Doug stop taking his medication. When his seizures occurred, she used electroencephalogram recordings to pinpoint the origin of the seizures in his brain. Last year, Ohio State surgeons removed a portion of Doug's right temporal lobe, including the hippocampus on the right side of his brain. Temporal lobe resection is successful in eliminating or significantly reducing seizures in a great majority of patients.

Although the surgery had some effect on Doug's short-term memory, with one minor exception, he has since been seizure-free. Every few months, the Columbus-area business analyst receives brain scans and blood tests and stays in contact with Dr. Hart.

"Dr. Hart has been wonderful," Doug says. He adds. "I would not hesitate to go through the whole process again."