Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

Focal Cortical Resection

Focal cortical resection is a type of surgery that removes damaged tissue from the brain that causes focal seizures. The surgery involves the removal of small parts of the brain and may involve tissue from one or more lobe.

Is my child a candidate?

  • If a child is experiencing focal seizures and the exact location of the activity in the brain is able to be identified, your child may be a candidate for focal cortical surgery.

What testing is needed before surgery?

  • Before surgery, the exact location in the brain where the seizures originate from will need to be identified. This may include:
    • MRI: An MRI uses large magnets, radio waves and a computer to make images of the inside of the body.
    • CT scan: This test uses a series of X-rays and a computer to create images of the inside of the body. A CT scan shows more detail than a regular X-ray.
    • EEG (outpatient): This test records the brain's electrical activity through sticky pads (electrodes) attached to the scalp.
    • EEG (inpatient): Some patients may require a longer EEG to record electrical activity, in which case a stay in the epilepsy monitoring unit will be required.
    • MEG scan: MEG, or magnetoencephalography, is a noninvasive test used to localize seizures and abnormal activity within the brain using magnetic sensors. MEG can also be used to localize areas of the brain that control motor, sensory and language.

How is the surgery performed?

  • Prior to the surgery, most children are given general anesthesia. Surgeons will then make an incision and remove part of the skull. After the brain is exposed, surgeons will remove the damaged tissue of the brain while continuously monitoring brain activity. After the tissue has been removed, the skull is replaced and an incision is sewn. Your child will be transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit where he or she will be closely monitored for the next three to four days. After surgery, seizure medication may be prescribed. In the absence of complications, your child should be able to return to normal activity within one to two weeks following surgery.

What are the results of the surgery?

  • Complications can happen during any surgery, and there is no cure for epilepsy. However, after focal surgery, many children can expect to be seizure free for months, years and even decades. In addition, many children will be able to stop medication a few months after surgery.

To learn more about the Epilepsy Center at Texas Children’s Hospital and to inquire about admissions and patient candidates, please contact 832-822-0959.