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Cost Effective, Non-Invasive Treatment for Epilepsy Devised by Amrita Hospital Neurosurgeons

Epilepsy effects 12 in every 1000 people in India with over a third of the population which is drugs resistant. To ease the burden of patients, neurosurgeons at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center have devised a cost effective and non-invasive treatment for epilepsy which is the first of its kind in India.

“A 31-year-old patient from Kannur in Kerala came to us with daily multiple epileptic seizures for the past over 15 years and was drug resistant and the only option was a surgery,” said Dr. Siby Gopinath, Neurologist and Professor at Amrita Hospital, Kochi. This treatment helped eliminate the epileptic focus which caused the severe epileptic seizures. Dr. Gopinath says, “As his MRI Brain did not show any definite lesion as the cause for epilepsy, we had to implant electrodes into the brain to record seizures and confirm the epileptic focus.”

The team at Amrita Advanced Centre for Epilepsy headed by Dr. Ashok Pillai used the latest brain mapping technology—Stereo Electroencephalography (Stereo EEG) to capture and record the origin of fits and confirm the epileptic focus. The Stereo EEG procedure involves inserting electrodes using multiple pinholes on the patient’s scalp instead of opting for open brain surgery. Dr. Gopinath added, “The high frequency radio waves were then targeted to the epileptic focus and this high frequency heat precisely ablated the focus.”

The entire procedure was completed within two hours while the patient was conscious and able to speak throughout the procedure. The patient was discharged in two days and the cost of the procedure a fraction of the cost estimated for open brain surgery, said Dr. Gopinath. The patient, who discontinued studies and took up work as electrician experienced frequent seizures but after this treatment he is now completely cured and can lead a normal life with regular follow-ups.