Pilot study shows stereotactic radiosurgery safely treats epileptic seizures

SAN DIEGO - For patients who want to avoid open surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery offers a safe alternative for the treatment of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, according to a presentation this week at the North American Regional Epilepsy Congress.

In a 30-patient pilot study at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, about two-thirds of the patients were free of seizures for at least six months after treatment with Gamma Knife (Elekta, Stockholm, Sweden), according to presenter Dr. Mark Quigg, an associate professor of neurology. Patients were followed up for two and three years.

Quigg divided the patients into two groups based on radiation dosage: 13 patients received 24 Gy units of radiation, and 17 patients received 20 Gy. According to the results, the low-dose group had a 55% success rate and was seizure-free after two years. Those in the high-dose group had an 80% success rate and were seizure-free after two years.

Because of the small number of patients in the trial, statistical significance was not reached, but the higher dose did appear more affective after two years, Quigg said. However, patients will have to decide how long they are willing to wait for an improvement in symptoms.

"The question that a patient and a doctor have to discuss is whether the open brain surgery, which results in immediate freedom of seizures, is a better option than nonsurgical treatment with a delay in freedom of seizures," Quigg explained.

The congress is sponsored by the American Epilepsy Society, the Canada League Against Epilepsy, and the Jamaican chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy.

By Edward Susman
AuntMinnie.com contributing writer
December 6, 2006

Related Reading

Elekta receives order for multiple gamma knives, November 11, 2006

Clinical features differentiate parasomnias and nocturnal frontal lobe seizures, May 30, 2006

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