Epilepsy Surgery

Neurosurgeons at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) provide expert epilepsy surgery, including vagus nerve stimulation, a procedure we helped pioneer. We work with you to find the procedure that offers you relief and long-term seizure control.

At LVHN, you will find specialists who have dedicated their careers to understanding and treating epilepsy.

We find the right surgical procedure for you to help improve your quality of life. What’s more, we are at the forefront of advances in epilepsy care, developing new techniques and methods to provide you with the most effective care possible.

Seizures occur when something interrupts the normal connections between nerve cells in the brain. Epilepsy is when you have had two or more unexplained seizures (not due to causes such as a high fever or brain trauma). Up to 1 percent of the population has this neurological disorder.

We can often control seizures with medication. When medicine does not provide sufficient seizure control and symptom relief, surgery may be an option. Many people see dramatic improvements after surgery.

Our team includes neurologists and neurosurgeons with focused training and experience treating people with epilepsy. Neurosurgeons at LVHN perform intricate procedures, including:

Vagus nerve stimulation

LVHN neurosurgeons are well-trained and highly experienced when it comes to performing vagus nerve stimulation. In fact, our neurosurgeons helped pioneer this procedure.

The vagus nerve is a cranial (brain) nerve responsible for sending and receiving information between the brain and the heart, stomach and lungs. For this procedure:

  • We implant a pacemaker-like device in your chest.
  • A connecting wire stimulates the vagus nerve, which can stop a seizure in progress or reduce the severity of a seizure.

Vagus nerve stimulation reduces seizures by approximately 20 to 40 percent. You may still need to take medication, though perhaps at a lower dose.

Corpus callosum sectioning

We disconnect the corpus callosum, which is the band of fibers connecting the two halves of the brain. This procedure can prevent seizures from spreading from one side of the brain to the other.

Corpus callosum sectioning treats uncontrollable epilepsy – when seizures continue despite treatment.

Temporal lobectomy

If seizures are starting in the temporal lobe of the brain, we can remove that section during surgery. This procedure is successful for many people – even eliminating seizures entirely – and does not affect brain function.

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