As part of an NHS initiative, up to 150 people with epilepsy each year will undergo a new form of potentially life-changing surgery on the part of the brain that causes their seizures.
NHS England is making available ‘world-leading’ fiber laser beam surgery which would allow people with epilepsy to avoid having to undergo neurosurgery, which is much more invasive.
Surgeons will start rolling out the treatment at two as yet unidentified hospitals, one in the north and one in the south of England, early next year. It is intended to help patients whose condition has not responded positively to anti-epileptic drug treatments.
Around 600,000 Britons – almost one in every 100 people – suffer from epilepsy. A third party cannot control his condition using only drugs. They may need neurosurgery to remove the part of their brain that is causing them seizures, which can be fatal.
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, said: “This pioneering laser beam treatment for epilepsy patients is life changing and will offer hope to hundreds of people every year who have failed to prevent seizures with traditional medicines.
“By replacing invasive neurosurgery with cutting-edge laser therapy, allowing clinicians to better target the parts of the brain responsible for epilepsy, we are not only dramatically reducing risk for these patients, but also dramatically reducing their recovery time.” inside and outside the hospital. ”
While around 150,000 people have seizures, only 10,000 of them are candidates for neurosurgery, NHS England said. This is because the source of the seizure cannot be localized or the seizures are not frequent or intense enough. Only a fraction of these people decide to undergo neurosurgery.
People eligible for the new laser surgery will have focal epilepsy that has not been controlled by taking maximum doses of two different drugs and has been examined at an epilepsy surgery center.
Professor James Palmer, NHS medical director for specialist services, said it was “a game-changing breakthrough for patients who have not been successful with traditional forms of treatment to control their seizures and will give people with epilepsy a real chance to live a normal life”. .
Patients will be able to go home the next day and resume normal work and activities a week later, while those undergoing neurosurgery stay in hospital for a week and must recover at home for three months.
Maxine Smeaton, chief executive of Epilepsy Research UK, welcomed the move, but added: “Chronic underinvestment in epilepsy research means that effective treatments for all people with the disease are still a long way off. decades. Despite being one of the most common serious neurological conditions, only 0.3% of the £4.8 billion spent on health-related research has been invested in epilepsy. We need more investment and more research to be able to deliver important innovations for patients like this.