Referrals for Seizure Surgery

Why don't many people with epilepsy get referred for surgery? Are surgery referrals not being commonly offered at the level of general practitioners, neurologists or epileptologists?

Dr. Jorge Burneo and his colleagues recently published an article addressing these exact questions. Their study looked at the number of people who underwent seizure surgery within the first 2 years of having drug-resistant epilepsy (defined as not being seizure-free after trying two appropriate drugs). The study found that only 1.2% of people had seizure surgery within these 2 years. In addition, this study identified a high number of deaths in people with drug-resistant epilepsy – about 12% mortality within 2 years – although the causes of these deaths were not described.

This publication highlights the fact that seizure surgery is underused and that more needs to be done to understand why referral rates are low. Since a follow-up study by Dr. David Stevens and his colleagues found that the majority of general practitioners refer to neurologists, Dr. Burneo and his team plan to focus on the role of neurologists, access to epileptologists and access to epilepsy monitoring units as the source(s) of the poor referral rates. The hope is that people will be referred to epileptologists - or comprehensive epilepsy centres - as soon as they are classified as having drug-resistant epilepsy, ensuring that they know their treatment options and receive appropriate care.

Researcher(s): ,
Status: Completed

2 Replies to “Referrals for Seizure Surgery”

  1. Gary Lovasi

    My name is Gary. I am 56 years old. I was diagnosed with epilepsy 5 years ago. (Temporal Lobe). I am on seizure medications and the seizures are controlled to a certain extent, however there are times when they still manifest themselves, especially during times of stress and anxiety. Can you tell me if I am a candidate for surgery and if so what steps would I need to take in order to get the proper referrals to make this surgery a possibility.


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