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Minimal Invasive Laser Surgery Gives Hope to Epilepsy Patients

By on June 18, 2016 in Featured, Health News Texas with 1 Comment
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A patient is readied for a new laser surgery treatment at Dell Chlldren’s Hospital. Photo: Seton Healthcare Family

by Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Dr. Clark

“The laser is one of the newer innovations at our epilepsy program which allows us to provide state-of-the-art treatment to our patients,” explained Dr. Dave Clarke to reporters. Photo: Seton Healthcare Family

The thought of being rolled into an operating room for a procedure on the brain might scare most people, but not 16-year-old Keynan Martin who suffered from debilitating seizures caused by epilepsy for more than eight years.

Martin’s family turned to the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Dell Children’s Hospital, a Seton Healthcare Family hospital, after he, like 30 percent of the more the 50 million worldwide epilepsy patients, failed to respond to traditional medication.

Dr. Dave Clarke, epileptologist and department director explained the risks of the new, noninvasive epilepsy brain surgery using a laser to the family who had traveled from Port Aransas.

“I would have went for any surgery really,” said the young Martin. “If it changed the way it was I would have gone for it.”

Specialists at Dell Children’s Medical Center are among the first in Central Texas to perform a new procedure that can change lives in just days, compared to months.

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Doctors place a brace on a patient’s head to ready him for the exacting surgery. Photo: Seton Healthcare Family

Martin has suffered half his life from epilepsy — an abnormal firing of brain cells. The diesis short-circuits the normal operation of the brain.

Epilepsy is not like a tumor where you can see it on the scan according to Dr. Mark Lee, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Dell Children’s Medical Center, “the minimally-invasive surgery uses lasers to target the area where the seizures originate in the brain.”

“The laser is one of the newer innovations at our epilepsy program which allows us to provide state-of-the-art treatment to our patients,” said Clarke “Epilepsy can be a debilitating condition to treat, but newer treatments like the laser are providing hope to those who have run out of options.”

The operation is not without risks. Disturbing areas of the brain can affect language or motor skills.

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Epilepsy is not like a tumor where you can see it on the scan according to Dr. Mark Lee, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Dell Children’s Medical Center. Photo: Seton Healthcare Family

Dell Children’s and Seton Brain & Spine Institute are the only places in Central Texas with an advanced level of epilepsy care for children and adults and provide complete epilepsy evaluations, surgical procedures and complex operations.

Martin is one of only three patients that have undergone the new treatment in Central Texas.

According to Dr. Lee the first procedure was done on a 22-year-old Austin woman whose sight was saved by the surgery. A few days after the laser procedure, she was able to leave on an overseas vacation and hasn’t suffered a seizure since.

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A laser is used to remove the targeted brain tissue using heat under continuous MRI monitoring. This allowed a very precise area of the brain to be treated without damaging other surrounding areas. Photo: Seton Healthcare Family

Dell Children’s epilepsy specialists first identify the area of the brain where seizures originated by using sophisticated mapping technology.

From information gathered  on a patient like Martin, Dr. Lee uses a laser probe at the surgical site with stereotactic, 3D-computer guidance to perform the operation.

The laser is used to remove the targeted brain tissue with heat under continuous MRI monitoring. This technique allows for a very precise area of the brain to be treated without damaging other surrounding areas.

“It was pretty harsh,” said the young Martin whose seizes continued to worsen with age. “It changed my life.”


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  1. Samantha says:

    I have been having seizures since i was 12 years. It has been very embarrasing having seizures and living with epilepsy for that long. I have taken different medications, gone for different therapy sessions and took different surgeries. I went for EEG and MRI scan and the doctor said my seizures were very serious and almost incurable. So i searched online for natural herbal remedy and got in contact with dr rick, i explained my situation to him and forwarded my medical report to me. He sent me cannabis oil and bacopamine and instructed me to be on a ketogenic diet. After 4 to 5 months of taking the medication and constant eating of oily fish surprisingly my seizures started reducing until it completely stopped. For the past 3 months i have not had any seizures, thanks to dr rick. You can contact dr rick by email on [email protected]

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