Common Epilepsy Surgery Safe for Older Patients

Resective epilepsy surgery safe and effective for patients over 60 years old

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Epilepsy surgery has the potential to completely free a patient of any seizures. However, older patients are typically turned down because of the potential risks associated with age and co-occurring conditions.

A recent study found that resective epilepsy surgery was safe and effective in patients over 60 years old.

The researchers concluded that this type of surgery should not be discouraged in older patients.

"Discuss the pros and cons of epilepsy surgery with your doctor."

The lead author of this study was Sandra Dewar, RN, MS, CNS, from the Reid Neurological Center at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The study included 10 patients who underwent resective epilepsy surgery for medically refractory focal onset seizures at UCLA between 1992 and 2012.

A person's case of epilepsy is medically refractory if their condition cannot be controlled after trying two or three different medications. Focal onset seizures are seizures that only affect part of the brain at onset.

Resective surgery entails removing the part of the brain that is responsible for the seizures.

All the participants were 60 years old or older, and the average age was 65.4 years old.

The average length of time since epilepsy onset until the surgery was 27.8 years.

The researchers looked at the participants' medical records to determine if they had any co-occurring conditions at the time of surgery.

After the surgery, the researchers assessed the participants' overall quality of life (QOL) by looking at the participants' satisfaction after surgery, life changes, driving, working, post-surgical issues, and the patient's overall view of their general health. The maximum score was 40.

Interviews after surgery were done over the phone to determine post-surgical outcomes.

The average time of follow up after the surgeries was 3.2 years.

The findings showed that seven of the participants had at least one co-occurring condition at the time of surgery.

None of the participants reported experiencing any complications after the surgery.

The researchers found that nine of the participants reported having a good post-surgical outcome.

The average QOL score was 30.4.

Overall, half of the participants were seizure-free at the time of follow-up.

The researchers concluded that resective surgery is safe for older patients. Therefore, comprehensive epilepsy centers should not disregard surgery referrals for older patients.

This study was presented on December 8 at the American Epilepsy Society’s 67th Annual Meeting.

Review Date: 
December 7, 2013
Last Updated:
December 9, 2013