DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE
Why Remove Half A Brain?
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND-Epilepsy is a general term for
a group of disorders that feature recurrent seizures. Seizures
are sudden abnormal electrical firings in the brain. Seizures
can lead to violent erratic spasms (convulsions ) of the muscles
of the body as well as altered consciousness.
Some children with severe forms of epilepsy can have
many seizure episodes daily. There lives can be affected by body
movement difficulties, medications, impaired intellectual function,
and dependency upon family and caregivers.
In the past thirty years at Johns Hopkins Medical
Institutions, 58 children with severe epilepsy had half of their
brains surgically removed in order to eliminate the misfiring
areas. The results of these operations were reported by Eileen
P. G. Vining M.D. and colleagues in an article in
The removal of the diseased half of the brain (medically
termed hemispherectomy) of these children with intractable, recurrent
seizures was successful, in terms of seizure relief, for over
2/3 of the patients.