Temporal Lobe Resection (cont.)
In this Article
What Happens Before a Temporal Lobe Resection?
Candidates for temporal lobe resection undergo an extensive pre-surgery evaluation -- including seizure monitoring, electroencephalography (EEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET). These tests help to pinpoint the seizure focus within the temporal lobe and to determine if surgery is possible.
What Happens During a Temporal Lobe Resection?
A temporal lobe resection requires exposing an area of the brain using a procedure called a craniotomy. ("Crani" refers to the skull and "otomy" means "to cut into.") After the patient is put to sleep with anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision (cut) in the scalp, removes a piece of bone and pulls back a section of the dura, the tough membrane that covers the brain. This creates a "window" in which the surgeon inserts special instruments for removing the brain tissue. Surgical microscopes also are used to give the surgeon a magnified view of the area of the brain involved. The surgeon utilizes information gathered during the pre-operative evaluation -- as well as during surgery -- to define, or map out, the route to the correct area of the temporal lobe.
In some cases, a portion of the surgery is performed while the patient is awake, using medication to keep the person relaxed and pain-free. This is done so that the patient can help the surgeon find and avoid areas of the brain responsible for vital functions. While the patient is awake, the doctor uses special probes to stimulate different areas of the brain. At the same time, the patient is asked to count, identify pictures, or perform other tasks. The surgeon can then determine the area of the brain associated with each task.
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