Michael Sperling, MD: Surgical Advancements for Epilepsy


The director of the Jefferson Comprehensive Epilepsy Center spoke about the improvements that have come along with some of the surgical advancements in the treatment of epilepsy, specifically with laser interstitial thermal ablation.

“Practically, it means that people come into the hospital and go home the next day. For pain relief they use acetaminophen—they don’t need narcotics—and they can go back to work a couple of days later…It’s at that level, as opposed to 3 days in the hospital with a craniotomy, significant analgesics, people out of work for 4 to 6 weeks. Some of these minimally invasive techniques, while still invasive, are far better than what we have had.”

In the last decade, a number of novel methods—mostly minimally invasive—of surgical approaches to treating epilepsy have become more widespread. Among them are laser ablation, focused ultrasound, and responsive neurostimulation, among others. Specifically, the use of laser interstitial thermal ablation has grown extraordinarily popular.

At the 2019 International Epilepsy Congress, June 22-26, in Bangkok, Thailand, NeurologyLive® sat with Michael Sperling, MD, director, Jefferson Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, professor of neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, who gave an informative talk at the meeting about a number of new therapeutic technologies in the treatment of epilepsy. Sperling spoke about one specific method, laser ablation, which has been utilized at the Jefferson facility for almost 7 years.

Additionally, he shared insight into how this new minimally invasive method compares to traditional resective surgery in epilepsy, particularly by removing the need for craniotomy and thereby allowing patients to have a much shorter hospital stay and recovery time.

For more coverage of IEC 2019, click here.


Sperling M. New therapeutic technologies (focused ultrasound, laser therapy, SEEG, RF ablation and others). Presented at: 2019 International Epilepsy Congress. June 22-26, 2019; Bangkok, Thailand.

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