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Phase 3: Electrode Placement

If the epilepsy team determines that you need more detailed testing, you will go to Phase III, which involves the use of surgically placed electrodes into and over your brain to better determine where the seizures are happening.

Because this is a surgical procedure, you will have the following tests several days beforehand:

The neurosurgeon will place special electrodes on the surface of your brain or deep within the brain, or both, depending on your particular type of epilepsy. Again, your medications may be decreased or discontinued. Seizures are recorded as they occur. Your doctor will determine which of two types of tests you will take.

  • Type 1: Your surgeon will implant electrodes into your brain. During the procedure, you will be awake but given sedation and local anesthesia. These electrodes can be removed at your bedside, so you do not need additional surgery to remove them. You will undergo video/EEG monitoring and be observed closely by our nursing staff. You will stay between five and ten days or until your doctor gathers enough information.
  • Type II: Your doctor will implant a "grid" of electrodes over the surface of your brain while you are under general anesthesia. Grid electrodes allow for greater coverage over the surface of your brain. Your doctor must remove a small portion of bone to place the electrodes. This bone is replaced after the video/EEG monitoring when you go back to the operating room. Usually, you will have the electrodes in place for a week while your doctor gathers the necessary information. Then you will have surgery to remove the abnormal brain tissue.

If you need surgery in particular areas of the brain, you will have a functional mapping test to show where vital functions in the brain such as speech, motor function (the ability to move arms, leg and face), and sensory function (such as tingling feelings) originate.

During this phase, you are restricted to bed to ensure your safety during the monitoring process. At times, light cloth restraints may be necessary to protect you from injury during a seizure.

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