Surgery safe for epileptic babies

March 24th, 2009 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 24 (IANS) Surgery for babies racked by epilepsy is relatively safe and effective in controlling seizures, according to a new study.
The findings also imply that early surgery may have a positive impact on these babies’ brain development.

“The results lead us to conclude that epilepsy surgery in children under three years is relatively safe and is effective in controlling seizures,” said Paul Steinbok of British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital, co-author of the study.

The study reviewed epilepsy surgeries in 116 children less than three years old, in eight paediatric neurosurgical centres across Canada, between 1987 and 2005.

The children generally underwent major brain operations, including removal of or disconnection of half of the brain. Despite such large operations, there were few complications and only one death.

At the time of surgery, children were having an average of 21 seizures per day, with one child having as many as 600 seizures per day.

One year after surgery, 67.3 percent were seizure free, 14 percent had a greater than 90 percent improvement in seizures, said a British Columbia release.

Only 7.5 percent did not benefit from surgery. Development improved in 55.3 percent of the children after surgery.

These findings were published in Epilepsia.

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