Controversial Surgery Researched

August 27, 2013 Updated Aug 27, 2013 at 3:48 PM EDT

By WKBW News

August 27, 2013 Updated Aug 27, 2013 at 3:48 PM EDT

Cleveland Clinic (WKBW) - A dramatic surgery called Hemispherectomy removes half of a child’s brain to relieve seizures in children suffering from Epilepsy. Doctors said that it sounds extreme but these surgeries help improve the quality of life for these children.

Experts said it dramatically decreases the amount of seizures and improves walking and talking. This is an option for children who do not respond to other medical treatments, including medication.

Experts said the surgery dramatically decreases the amount of seizures. The researchers followed 186 six-year-old children. All of them had half of their brain removed. Before the surgery, about 75 percent of them were having daily seizures that disrupted their lives. After the surgery, more than half of the children were seizure free. There were 15 percent who saw their seizures decrease by 90 percent. Many of these children could also walk independently.

“Surgery not only makes them seizure free but having seizure freedom helps them learn more and do more. What we have shown is that even though the surgery sounds very radical the benefits outweigh the risks,” Cleveland Clinic Dr. Ajay Gupta said.

The doctors said over the long term, learning to read seemed to be the most difficult skill for these children to master. They said their overall learning was much improved.

The doctors said they hope these positive findings help parents make an informed decision about this dramatic surgery.

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