About one-third of the millions of people who have epilepsy continue to experience seizures, even with the use of medication. New brain stimulation technology now offers hope to those with forms of epilepsy that are resistant to medication.
This summer, neurosurgeons at Rush were the first in Chicago to implant a neurostimulator in the brain to treat epilepsy. The neurostimulator delivers small electrical pulses to the affected area of the brain at the first sign of a seizure to prevent one from happening.
"Ideally, the patient would never even know a seizure was on the way," says Richard W. Byrne, MD, neurosurgeon at Rush and member of the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch Medical Group, who performed the first implant.
Doctors at Rush continue to research innovative technologies for people living with epilepsy. Recently, Rush conducted a study to see if similar neurostimulator technology could help those with severe epilepsy. In the study, a device is implanted in the chest with threaded leads and extensions placed in the brain.
If successful, the study will introduce a new treatment option for people who do not respond to epilepsy medications.