Surgery is an effective treatment option for many of the 30% of people with epilepsy whose seizures cannot be controlled with medications. As part of their evaluation for epilepsy surgery, some patients undergo monitoring with intracranial electrodes to identify the seizure focus and define eloquent cortical regions to aid in planning the resective surgery. In addition to improving the ability to surgically treat epilepsy, recording electrical potentials directly from the brain surface and within deeper structures can provide fundamental insights into human brain function.
The NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (Director: Dr. Orrin Devinsky) is one of the largest epilepsy centers in North America. It has a large surgical program, with more than 65 patients undergoing epilepsy surgery each year. Epilepsy surgeries, including the placement of intracranial electrodes, are performed by Dr. Werner Doyle for adult patients and Dr. Amanda L. Yaun for children. These two senior epilepsy neurosurgeons work closely with a multidisciplinary team of epileptologists, neuropsychiologists, neurophysiologists and neuroradiologists to identify the epileptogenic region and define eloquent brain areas to plan for optimal resective surgery. The epilepsy monitoring unit is staffed by specialized nurses and EEG technicians. Overall medical care is supervised by the Clinical Intracranial Neurophysiology Director, Dr. Patricia Dugan, and Co-Director, Dr. Daniel Friedman.
During a patient’s stay on the epilepsy monitoring unit, anti-seizure medication is often reduced in an attempt to provoke and characterize seizures. After seizures are captured and the epileptogenic region(s) are identified, many patients undergo functional mapping with direct cortical stimulation to define cortical regions which may be critical for language, motor and/or sensory functions to help plan the optimal surgical approach. Many of these patients have also been enthusiastic participants in research.
The Center’s large surgical program attests to its reputation as one of the finest epilepsy centers in the country. Our patients routinely volunteer to participant in a wide variety of clinical and cognitive research studies, which have led to significant scientific insights into how the brain functions.