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Hemispherectomy for Epilepsy

Topic Overview

The left and right sides of the brain are called hemispheres. Hemispherectomy is the removal of one side of the brain. This procedure is sometimes done on children who have severe forms of epilepsy, such as Rasmussen syndrome and Sturge-Weber disease. These conditions badly damage one side of the brain, cause frequent seizures and problems with physical and mental development. And these conditions do not respond well to drug treatment.

Hemispherectomy may stop seizures completely in children who have severe epilepsy. Many patients can walk independently after surgery. But there are risks with surgery. Problems with reading and speaking are common. Most school-age children will need help in school after the surgery.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
Last Revised October 17, 2013

Last Revised: October 17, 2013

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