Epilepsy and Seizures: Advanced Surgical Options


Epilepsy is a condition characterized by abnormal brain activity that causes seizures or periods of strange behavior, sensations, and, in rare cases, loss of consciousness.

Dr. Gurneet Sawhney, a neurosurgeon in Mumbai, successfully restored quality of life to epileptic patients, thanks to sophisticated surgical alternatives now available to treat the ailment.

Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney is a member of Mumbai’s new breed of ultra-modern neurosurgeons. Dr. Sawhney is well-known for his expertise in treating severe and life-threatening brain and spinal cord illnesses. Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney is a skilled neurosurgeon who has received significant training in minimally invasive surgery and neurotrauma techniques.

He chose to concentrate on Functional Neurosurgery, Epilepsy Neurosurgery, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, and Neuroendoscopy because of his profound interest in neurosciences. Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney, who has over 14 years of expertise, has risen to become Mumbai’s most renowned neurosurgeon via sheer hard work, devotion, and tenacity.

Q: What are some common misconceptions concerning seizures and epilepsy?

You don’t necessarily have epilepsy just because you experience a stroke. Epilepsy cannot be diagnosed just based on the presence of seizures. Three to five percent of people will experience a seizure due to brain damage or another external stimulus. Epilepsy differs from other types of seizures in that it occurs repeatedly and is spontaneous or otherwise unexplained.

Furthermore, not all seizures are magnificent seizures, as depicted in the media. Only a few seizures include:

  • Flailing and convulsive motions of the entire body.
  • Foaming at the mouth.
  • Loss of physiological function.

Seizures can also result in loss of consciousness, confusion, partial movement of one body part, or brief olfactory or auditory hallucinations.

People who suffer from seizures are thought to be “off,” and because their freedom may be limited, they are viewed as not completely functional humans. I always remind folks that epilepsy is an intermittent disorder, similar to having asthma and having an asthma attack. If epilepsy is managed correctly, people with epilepsy can live an everyday, productive life.

Q: How do you know if you have epilepsy?

A person’s seizures must be viewed in a medical setting and their brain activity recorded to be definitively diagnosed with epilepsy. According to Dr. Gurneet Sawhney, the most excellent neurosurgeon in Mumbai, “we use different types of electroencephalography – best known as EEG – to detect epilepsy in a clinical situation.” In stereo EEG (SEEG) and robotic SEEG, electrodes are implanted on the scalp or directly on the brain through tiny incisions made in the scalp. These electrodes monitor brain activity and indicate when regular exercise is disrupted, signaling a seizure.

Q: How is epilepsy diagnosed?

To aid in the diagnosis of epilepsy, we admit patients to EMUs, which are specialist hospital units. EMUs are equipped with EEG technology, which allows us to record what happens during a patient’s seizure and see where the seizure occurs in the brain. We can also use EMU monitoring to see who could be a good candidate for epilepsy surgery. Patients stay in EMUs long enough for two to three seizures to be seen.

Q: What are the advanced surgical therapy options for epilepsy?

The goal of epilepsy surgery is to pinpoint the location in the brain where seizures originate and disrupt their course to regulate or eradicate them. In traditional epilepsy surgery, the brain was accessed through the skull, electrodes were placed directly on the brain, and brain activity was monitored for several days in an EMU. We would remove the section of the brain that was causing the seizures once it was found, and the seizures would stop. 

We can achieve this similar localization of seizures utilizing robotic stereo electroencephalography (SEEG). We implant tiny probes into the brain through short incisions in the scalp, thanks to technology breakthroughs initially available in this region at Memorial Hermann-TMC. Patients are then admitted to the EMU for continued monitoring. We determine whether to remove that portion of the brain, use laser ablation to destroy misfiring signals, or implant a neuromodulation device, which is similar to a pacemaker for the brain, to redirect electrical signals of the brain on the correct path once the origin of the seizures has been mapped.

Q: What influence do these novel surgical therapies have on the lives of patients?

Patients’ seizure control and quality of life can be dramatically improved with epilepsy surgery. Most people can function independently once their seizures have been minimized or eliminated. They are capable of driving, working, and living alone. According to Dr. Gurneet Sawhney, Mumbai’s best neurosurgeon, most patients can reduce the dose and number of medications they take to control their seizures. About a third of individuals can stop using their seizure drugs completely. Once the seizures are gone, and the drugs are lowered, many people report improved cognition and brain function.

Q: What was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy patients?

Patients diagnosed with epilepsy or suffering from seizures, like those with other chronic diseases, we’re unable to have their seizures controlled in the early months of the epidemic. Neurologists could re-manage their patients or refer them to epilepsy clinics for examinations and surgery when telemedicine became accessible – thankfully, early in the pandemic at Memorial Hermann. This helped to mitigate the detrimental effects of delayed care on these individuals.

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