New Intraoperative MRI offers hope to epileptic children: The most effective technology to combat epilepsy

Around 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, making it one of the most common neurological diseases globally. The epilepsy mortality rate in Latin America and the Caribbean is 1.04 per 100,000 inhabitants, higher than the 0.50 per 100,000 inhabitants in the United States and Canada. It is estimated that up to 70% of people living with epilepsy could live seizure-free if properly diagnosed and treated.

Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates. Seizure signs and symptoms may include: temporary confusion, a staring spell, stiff muscles, uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, loss of consciousness or awareness, psychological symptoms such as fear, anxiety or déjà vu. Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure. In most cases, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.

Epilepsy has no identifiable cause in about half the people with the condition. In the other half, the condition may be traced to various factors, including: genetic influence, head trauma, infections, prenatal injury, and developmental disorders.

The Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (iMRI) is a procedure that creates images of the brain during surgery. Neurosurgeons rely on iMRI technology to obtain accurate pictures of the brain that guide them in removing brain tumors and treat epilepsy.

<strong>Dr. Daxa Patel</strong>, pediatric neurosurgeon at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in South Florida, explains that the Intraoperative MRI is a game changer in providing patient care for multiple reasons.

Dr. Daxa Patel, pediatric neurosurgeon at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in South Florida, explains that the Intraoperative MRI is a game changer in providing patient care for multiple reasons.

In epilepsy, iMRI can confirm/verify electrode placements during surgery, which guide lesion resection. About 30 patients per year can benefit from epilepsy surgery, curative and palliative. During this procedure, iMRI allows surgeons to monitor brain activity; check for bleeding, clots and other complications; prevent damage to surrounding tissue; and protect brain function. This helps with earlier intervention to address complications and may reduce the need for additional operations.

“When patients have epilepsy or a diagnosis, they are in a very vulnerable part of their lives, very concerned, and they’re very scared. But, if I can help make a difference by providing a better quality of life, I feel like I’m doing something good for them,” stated Dr. Patel.

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