To honor epilepsy awareness month I thought it was appropriate to discuss one of the technological advancements made in the epilepsy field. In recent years, epilepsy technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. One of the most promising new treatments is laser ablation.
This minimally-invasive procedure uses targeted laser energy to destroy the abnormal brain tissue that causes seizures. Laser ablation is still a relatively new treatment, but it is already showing great promise. In a small study of 30 patients with epilepsy, laser ablation was found to be effective in reducing or eliminating seizures in over 80% of cases. That is an incredibly high success rate, and it is only likely to improve as the procedure is refined. There are many potential advantages of laser ablation over traditional epilepsy surgery. First, it is much less invasive. The surgeon does not need to make any large incisions, and the procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis. Second, laser ablation is much more precise than traditional surgery. This means that there is a lower risk of damage to healthy brain tissue, and the patient can often avoid taking seizure medication after the procedure. Of course, as with any new medical procedure, there are also some risks associated with laser ablation.
The most common side effect is temporary swelling and bruising around the treatment site. There is also a small risk of infection. However, the risks of laser ablation are generally much lower than the risks of traditional epilepsy surgery.
I am a lucky person who is able to take medication and have his epilepsy controlled. For others, laser ablation will be a very promising new treatment, something that was not available even 10 years ago.