Skip to Main Content

Neurosurgical Treatments for Epilepsy

Appointments

Request an appointment online or
call us. 305-243-6946

Neurosurgical treatments for epilepsy can reduce the frequency or intensity of seizures —and sometimes even stop them entirely. Most procedures involve removing the area of the brain where seizures take place or implanting a device in the brain. However, neurosurgical treatment is not without risks, and it’s not for every patient with epilepsy.

At the University of Miami Health System, our expert neurosurgeons use the latest surgical techniques to treat epilepsy. We work with you to determine if surgery could help improve your health and quality of life.

Why Choose UHealth?

Level 4 epilepsy center designation. As one of the National Association of Epilepsy Center’s designated level 4 epilepsy centers, the International Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at University of Miami Hospital offers the highest level of diagnostic abilities and treatment options to eliminate your seizures. Our multidisciplinary specialists include epileptologists (experts in seizure disorders), neuropsychologists, and other professionals who work together to make sure you receive comprehensive care.

The latest epilepsy treatments. For more than 30 years, our epilepsy experts have been treating individuals with intractable epilepsy (seizures aren’t controlled with medicine). We’ve been active in the development of new techniques, including subpial transection for epilepsies in critical areas of the brain. Our specialists were involved in the first evaluation of vagal nerve stimulation to treat epilepsy. We continue to develop new approaches in the surgical treatment of epilepsy.

Top-ranked neurosurgery team. Our neurosurgery program is nationally ranked among the best by U.S. News & World Report. We are the leaders in the treatment and diagnosis of neurological conditions. Our knowledge, expertise, and commitment to patient care have earned us our reputation as a world-class research and medical center. That means we provide state-of-the-art treatment as well as superior follow-up care.

Surgical expertise. We see more than 14,000 patients each year and perform more than 4,000 surgeries. Our experienced neurosurgeons are consistently pioneering new treatments. From minimally invasive spine surgeries to awake craniotomies, we offer surgeries you can’t find anywhere else in the region.

Concierge service. Patients don’t have to figure it all out alone at UHealth. You’re assigned a concierge coordinator who is there for you and your family while you’re in our care. They connect you with other providers, walk you through the surgery process, and answer any questions you or your family may have.

Medical and technological advancements. We are on the cutting edge of neurosurgery with advanced technologies like robotics, 3D intraoperative imaging, and deep brain stimulation. As a patient at UHealth, you also have access to the innovative research and the latest clinical trials. You can count on getting the very best in neurological surgery and care.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Who is a Candidate?

 

New surgical options are available for almost every patient who has severe intractable epilepsy.

You may be a candidate for neurosurgical treatment if your epilepsy:

  • Causes severe seizures that impact your quality of life and cannot be controlled by medicines. You must have tried at least two anti-seizure medicines without success to qualify for surgery.
  • Is caused by an injury or malformation in an area of your brain that can be removed surgically.
  • Begins in one area of your brain then spreads to another area.

What to Expect

 

We offer advanced neurosurgical treatments for epilepsy. Your doctor will help you determine which treatment may be the most effective for you.

All epilepsy surgeries have risks. After the procedure, you may have trouble with language, memory, or other cognitive skills. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of these treatments.

During all epilepsy surgeries, you will be asleep under general anesthesia. Each procedure can take between three and eight hours. You should expect to spend at least one night in the hospital as part of your recovery.

  • Open Surgery

    During open epilepsy surgeries, your surgeon makes an incision through your scalp and creates a hole in your skull called a craniotomy. They locate the area of the brain that causes your seizures, using an electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring, and remove it.

    If your seizures begin in one side of your brain and spread to the other, you may benefit from a different type of open surgery called a corpus callosotomy. During this surgery, your neurosurgeon cuts the connection between the two halves of your brain, which may help reduce seizure severity.

    In rare cases in children, the surgeon may remove the entire outer portion of half of the brain during open surgery. Typically, this radical procedure is only used in infants or very young children who may be able to make a full recovery.

    With all open brain surgeries, you will spend a few days in the hospital recovering. It may take three or four weeks for you to return to your normal activities.

  • Temporal Lobectomy

    This open surgery, which requires an incision through your scalp and skull, is used for people who have seizures in their temporal lobe (the front part of your brain). This procedure removes the temporal lobe.

    Temporal lobectomy is the most successful form of epilepsy surgery. Around 70 percent of patients who undergo this procedure never have another seizure. You will spend a few days in the hospital recovering. You may also need speech therapy to help with language problems that can result from surgery.

  • Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT)

    The LITT procedure is a less invasive way to treat intractable epilepsy. Your neurosurgeon uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to target the area of your brain causing seizures. They then make a small incision in your head and guide a thin, needle-like device into the area.

    Once the needle is in place, a laser heats up the area around the tip, destroying the targeted area of the brain and leaving surrounding areas undamaged. Once the area is destroyed, the needle is removed, and the incision is closed. You will have a faster recovery from this procedure than open surgery — most people can return home the next day. However, this procedure may not be as effective in treating seizures as open surgery.

  • NeuroPace

    A NeuroPace device works like a pacemaker for your brain. The small, battery-powered device is implanted in your skull, with wires that lead from the device into your brain. It’s placed using minimally invasive surgery, which takes about three or four hours.

    For about two weeks after your surgery, the NeuroPace device monitors your brain activity and records seizures. Using this data, your doctor can program the device to send an electrical signal whenever it detects an oncoming seizure, which can disrupt and prevent the seizure. In clinical trials, the majority of patients had 50 percent fewer seizures. The device becomes more effective over time.

    NeuroPace is most commonly used in adults who experience seizures in different areas of the brain. Recovery from the procedure is faster than open surgery, though you may need to spend a night in the hospital.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care