Apollo Hospitals has come forward to propagate the fact, once considered a last resort for patients with few other treatment options; surgery is now a relatively safe and common therapeutic strategy for seizure control in epilepsy patients.
Epilepsy patients have become seizure free after targeted surgery to remove the epileptic focus with a high degree of success and excellent outcome. They attribute their improvement to better technology and the expert evaluation and operative and postoperative care at Apollo Speciality Hospital Chennai.
Epilepsy occurs in 1 among 150 people worldwide out of which 70% respond to drug treatment (3-5 years) where as the remaining 30% require evaluation in a difficult to treat epilepsy clinic by an epileptologist, as about half of them are likely to benefit from epilepsy surgery. Apollo Hospitals Chennai performed its first epilepsy surgery on a Sudanese boy on 15th August 1998. Since then more than 100 surgeries have been completed with a high success rate of more than 70-100% seizure freedom in the operated patients.
According to Dr.Prithika Chary, Senior Consultant Neurologist & Neuro Surgeon, Apollo Institute of Neurosciences, "Several options are open to epileptic patients, including proper and detailed evaluation and classification of their seizures, appropriate rational combinations of different antiepileptic drugs, implantation of a device called vagal nerve stimulator or resective surgery to remove the epileptic focus. Identification of such patients should be done as early as possible to give good results. Ideally, any patient whose seizures exceed two per month, in spite of taking two or more antiepileptic drugs, or who has limiting side effects due to medication is a suitable candidate to be examined in a "Difficult to treat epilepsy clinic".
Dr.Chendilnathan, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Apollo Institute of Neurosciences, elaborates, "Surgery as an option of treatment for epilepsy is still an underused option, Apollo has made a huge difference in the lives of a 54 year old from Goa, and a 38 year old from Chennai through surgery and in the life of a 19 year old from Andhra Pradesh with expert drug treatment, among others. With the help of an operating wand (an advanced technology) that adds to the accuracy and safety of the surgery and also the operating microscope, these benefits may open the door for more epilepsy patients to see surgery as a viable option".
The launch of a "Difficult to treat epilepsy clinic" will enable early referral and treatment of patients with persistent seizures, which has potential to irreversibly damage the brain, and offer hope to this select group of patients enabling them to live better.