A rare surgery brought relief to a 28-year-old man suffering from epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterised by recurrent convulsions, for over 20 years.

V. Rajprabhu had to discontinue his engineering course and take up job catering job. But, he had to quit his job soon because of severe seizures. He was on multiple anti-convulsion drugs but, they were not of much help. The patient was identified with left temporal lobe sclerosis and required the removal of a scar in the brain to check seizures.

The surgical procedures called anterior temporal lobectomy and amygdalohippocampectomy were conducted by a team of doctors at Kovai Medical Center and Hospital, Nalla G. Palaniswami, chairman of the hospital, told presspersons on Saturday

“The surgery was conducted four weeks ago and since then no convulsions have been observed in the patient, while the dosage of anti-convulsion medicines was brought down.”

The three-and-a-half hour surgery was conducted by a team of doctors including neurosurgeon K. Madheshwaran, neurologist K. Vijayan and radiologists, under the guidance of Thomas Joseph, senior neurosurgeon.

According to the doctors, around 80 per cent of the epilepsy cases could be treated with drugs. However, in some patients the convulsions were caused by tumours or small scars in the brain which needed to be removed surgically. The scars could be congenital or caused due to infections, trauma or reduced blood supply to the brain.

The type and source of convulsions were identified with the help of video electroencephalography (EEG). Functional imaging aids like positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) were used for selecting cases suitable for surgery.

Magnetic resonance image (MRI) and video EEG of the patient showed left temporal lobe sclerosis. According to doctors, the crucial part of the treatment was to precisely identify the position of the scar. The MRI showed that the convulsions were recorded in the same region of the brain and this was confirmed using nuclear medicine, the doctors said.

The doctors added that the patients would have to continue taking anti-convulsion medicines, but they could be brought down considerably during the next 3-5 years. According to Dr. Vijayan anti-convulsion medicines caused side-effects and hence reducing the dosage was important.

The surgery which cost around Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs.3 lakh was carried out under the Chief Ministers’ Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.

More In: Coimbatore