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Epilepsy and Seizures

TreatmentOther Treatments

There are other treatments for epilepsy besides medication. Surgery diet, and a surgically implanted device are some of the other options. These may be more appropriate for you, depending on the type of seizures you have.

Surgery

Surgery may be used when the activity that causes seizures is located in an area of the brain where surgery can be performed safely—an area that does not control an important function such as speech or memory. The surgeon will remove damaged cells or a tumor or other growth that may be causing seizures. Even if surgery is successful and the abnormality is safely and completely removed, the person may still have seizures. All surgery has serious risks, even in relatively safe areas of the brain, that must be taken into consideration before surgery is recommended. Your doctor will tell you if an operation is a possibility for you.

Ketogenic Diet

Some doctors have tried prescribing a special diet called a ketogenic diet to treat seizures that cannot be controlled by medication. This diet involves fasting, then eating foods that are high in fat and low in protein and carbohydrates. This creates a condition called ketosis. It is believed that chemicals that the body produces in ketosis may act to control seizures. The diet is hard to stay on, and people cannot go off it suddenly or without a doctor's supervision.

Vagus Nerve Stimulators

Implanting a device called a vagus nerve stimulator is a relatively new method of treating epilepsy. The vagus nerve stimulator is a small device that is implanted under the skin in the person's chest. It sends small electrical signals to the vagus nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body. It is programmed to control the pattern of your brain waves and can help prevent seizures.

Epilepsy is a highly treatable condition. In addition to the many treatments already available, researchers are working on new ways to diagnose brain abnormalities as well as new drugs and techniques to control seizures and provide hope for the future.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaEpilepsyEpilepsy and Seizures - Treatment - Medication And Side Effects, Other Treatments