According to Dr. George Rusyniak, associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, approximately 2 million people in the United States have epilepsy, a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures over time.

“In most patients, seizures are well controlled with appropriate medications,” he said. “However, at least 20 to 40 percent of patients experience a significant number of breakthrough seizures despite being managed on optimal medical therapy. They still have seizures weekly or even daily.”

Dr. Rusyniak said that if a patient’s seizures remain uncontrolled for two years after working with a neurologist, they may need to consider epilepsy surgery, an operation on the brain that can control seizures and ultimately improve the patient’s quality of life.

In surgical candidates, the proper identification of a seizure focus is essential for optimal patient outcomes. “We must find the focus in the brain where the seizures originate and successfully remove the focus without causing undue brain damage,” said Dr. Rusyniak, who is part of a new epilepsy team at USA.

The first step in treating someone with epilepsy surgery involves a pre-surgical evaluation, followed by invasive monitoring at USA’s new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU).

“At the EMU, we can monitor seizures over a period of days and map where the seizures are coming from. This allows us to localize it and develop a surgical treatment plan.”

According to Dr. Rusyniak, USA’s EMU is a collaborative environment that provides unique and highly specialized care with state-of-the-art technology for patients with epilepsy and other neurological conditions. “We work as a team to take care of patients with epilepsy.”

To make an appointment, call (251) 665-8290.

For more information on the EMU, click here.

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