Epilepsy

Do you suffer from frequent seizures?

Epilepsy is the result of unusual electrical activity in the brain. It’s also a fairly common condition, affecting around 2.5 million people in the United States. The most common symptom of epilepsy is seizures, when abnormal electrical signals in the brain give way to an electrical storm that can leave you helpless.

Get diagnosed

When seizures strike, it’s important to speak with a neurologist to get your type of epilepsy diagnosed. Once it’s been determined that you do suffer from epilepsy, your doctor can help control your seizures through drug therapy.

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If you don’t have a neurologist and aren’t quite sure who to call, you can use our find a physician online tool to find a doctor that works for you.

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Epilepsy Monitoring

When you’re running fast to win a race you probably want a burst of energy to carry you across the finish line first. But a burst of energy is not always a good thing. Intermittent bursts of energy in the brain can lead to seizures and affect your consciousness, bodily movements or sensations for a short period of time. Repeated seizures could be a sign of epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that can cause temporary confusion, staring spells, uncontrollable jerking motions of the arms and legs, and unconsciousness. About half of epilepsy cases occur for no known reason. However, it can be caused by genetic factors, head trauma, certain medical disorders like a stroke, dementia, prenatal injury, and developmental disorders such as autism or Down syndrome.

People at increased risk for epilepsy are men, young children, adults over the age of 65, those with a family history of the disorder, anyone who has had a stroke or brain infection, and those who experienced high fevers in childhood.

There are two main types of seizures with subcategories. Focal or partial seizures originate in one part of the brain. Simple focal seizures do not cause loss of consciousness, but may affect sensory perceptions and result in involuntary jerking of part of the body. Complex focal seizures change consciousness or awareness, and may result in non-purposeful movements, such as walking in circles or staring.

Generalized seizures appear to involve the whole brain. They include:

  • Absence seizures, also called petit mal, which cause subtle body movements and brief loss of awareness
  • Tonic seizures that result in muscles stiffening
  • Clonic seizures associated with recurring, twitching muscle contractions
  • Myoclonic seizures that appear as sudden, jerking movements in the arms and legs
  • Atonic seizures that cause loss of normal muscle tone
  • Tonic-clonic seizures, also called grand mal, which are intense episodes of body stiffening, shaking, loss of consciousness, and occasional loss of bladder control or tongue biting

Epilepsy can be diagnosed following blood tests as well as neurological and behavior examinations. Additional medical tests may be necessary, such as an electroencephalogram to check the electrical activity in the brain, or computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging to look for structural abnormalities like tumors, bleeding or cysts.

Treatment usually begins with medication to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures. Surgery may be recommended if medicines are not effective. When tests show that seizures originate in a well-defined area that doesn’t interfere with vital functions, then that part of the brain may be surgically removed. If the affected part of the brain cannot be removed, doctors can make a series of small cuts to prevent seizures from spreading.

Some people may be candidates for vagus nerve stimulation, which involves implanting a device to deliver electrical pulses to the brain. Children may be able to reduce seizures by following a ketogenic diet that requires eating foods high in fats and low in carbohydrates. For more information about epilepsy, talk with your doctor of visit the Epilepsy Foundation website at www.epilepsyfoundation.org.

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7 Key Benefits of Robotic Surgery

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a condition that may require surgery, you owe it to yourself to learn about all your options, including some of the most non-invasive surgical treatments available using robotic surgery. We live in a day and age when there are a myriad of medical advancements that can help us to live healthier, stronger and longer lives.

Through the use of robotic-assisted surgery, surgeons are now able to offer minimally invasive and more precise options for many complex surgical procedures—from knee replacements to cancer treatment.

To operate using the robotic system, a surgeon makes tiny incisions in the body and inserts miniaturized instruments and a high-definition three-dimensional camera. Sometimes skin incisions are not required at all. Then, from a nearby console, the surgeon manipulates those instruments to perform the operation.

During a robotic-assisted procedure, the surgeon uses master controls to manipulate the instruments, and the instruments translate that surgeon’s movements into precise movements inside your body. The surgeon is in control the whole time. The surgical system simply responds to the direction he or she provides.

For most patients, robotic surgery offers numerous benefits, including:
  • Reduced post-surgery pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer and smaller scars
  • Increased precision for more accurate joint replacements
  • Faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less risk of infection

Types of Robotic Surgery

Depending on the condition needed to be treated, there are different robotic surgery options. Not all hospitals offer all types, and some hospitals may have additional or other systems that use the same principles.

The systems allow for superior visualization, enhanced dexterity and improved control. If you feel that robotic surgery might be an appropriate treatment option for you, talk with your doctor to find out if you are a candidate for these innovative treatments.