Epilepsy Surgery Program

Epilepsy affects one in 100 people in the United States and significantly impacts the ability of patients to lead a normal life. Surgical treatment is an option available for a significant number of patients with epilepsy that offers them up to an 80 percent chance of becoming seizure-free, while patients taking medication only have a 5 percent chance of becoming seizure-free.

At the UF Health Neuroscience Institute – Jacksonville, the surgical treatment of epilepsy involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes neurology epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists and other specially trained staff. This highly skilled, experienced team of specialists have been treating epilepsy patients for more than a decade. After a thorough evaluation, patients with epilepsy may be candidates for a variety of procedures depending on their type of epilepsy, all of which are available at UF Health Jacksonville.

The comprehensive evaluation of patients with epilepsy includes three stages:

  • Clinical evaluation
  • Diagnostic invasive evaluation
  • Surgical treatment

Clinical Evaluation

Patients undergo a comprehensive clinical evaluation by an experienced epileptologist followed by diagnostic testing such as EEGs, CT scans, MRIs, SPECT, PET scans and video EEG monitoring (where the patient is evaluated as an inpatient for several days to determine the source or focus of the epilepsy in special suites adapted to perform these studies). These studies are complemented with neuropsychological testing that helps determine memory, verbal and cognitive abilities, and how epilepsy has affected the patient.

More on Epilepsy Clinical Evaluation

Diagnostic Invasive Evaluation

Evaluations include a Wada test, which is performed only in a few centers. This special test is done using angiography which allows the study of language and memory localization in a particular patient. Once this test is done, the multidisciplinary team evaluates the results and may decide that long-term seizure monitoring, with electrodes placed in the brain, needs to be performed. This evaluation consists of placing electrodes inside the skull and in the brain to determine where the seizures originate (the seizure focus). Finding the focus of the seizures will ultimately determine the surgical treatment and approach needed in a particular patient.

Surgical Treatment

A variety of procedures are available for patients with epilepsy at UF Health Jacksonville, including:

  • Placement of intracranial electrodes that allow identification of the seizure focus
  • Anterior temporal resections, which are especially successful in patients who have a lesion in the temporal lobe called mesial temporal sclerosis
  • Cortical resection for epilepsy
  • Resection of lesions such as tumors or arteriovenous malformations that could be a source of seizures
  • Placement of vagal nerve stimulator

Post-Operative Care

At UF Health Jacksonville, patients will be taken care of post-operatively in a specialized Neuro Intensive Care Unit with staff specially trained to care for patients with neurological conditions.