Surgery performed in an area of the brain called the posterior cortex is highly effective in controlling seizures and in leading to the discontinuation of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in children and adolescents with epilepsy, according to a study published in the scientific journal Epilepsia.Interestingly, the sooner surgery is performed after the diagnosis of epilepsy, the more likely it is that patients will remain seizure free as a result.According to the authors of the study, their findings emphasize the importance of considering brain surgery relatively early in young patients with drug resistant (or refractory) posterior cortex epilepsy.The research team was led by Dr Thomas Bast at Epilepsy Center Kork in Germany and analysed data from 50 children and adolescents with drug resistant posterior cortex epilepsy who underwent surgery during which a portion of their brain was removed. All of the children apart from one had an area of abnormality (a lesion) in their brain that was visible in the MRI scan before surgery.The patients were followed for eight years on average after surgery. Sixty percent of them remained seizure free in this period of time. Around one third of patients discontinued their AEDs following surgery and, one fifth reduced their use. In cases where seizures recurred, 70% happened in the first six months following surgery. Only three patients had a seizure recurrence two or more years after surgery.Children for whom the seizure-causing region was on the left side of the brain or in a region called the parietal lobe were more likely to have recurrent seizures. Likewise, those with a longer duration between diagnosis and surgery were more likely to have a recurrence of their seizures after surgery.“Our study demonstrates that posterior cortex epilepsy surgery is highly effective in terms of lasting seizure control and antiepileptic drug cessation in selected pediatric candidates”, wrote the authors. “Most importantly, our data supports the early consideration of surgical intervention in children and adolescents with refractory posterior cortex epilepsy”.Around one third of people with epilepsy do not respond to currently available AEDs. Some of these people with so-called drug resistant epilepsy can benefit from brain surgery.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about other treatments for epilepsy.