Sarah Wilson, PhD: Long-Term Social Outcomes of Epilepsy Surgery


The clinical neuropsychologist and head of the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne discussed the results of a study she and colleagues conducted in which they mapped the long-term social outcomes of patient post-epilepsy surgery.

“We need to get patients ready for surgery. It’s kind of like pre-hab, pre-habilitation. Many patients come into surgery with unreasonably high expectations. ‘I’m going to have the surgery, my seizures are going to be fixed, and then I’m going to be fine. I’m going to have an amazing life’…Some of these expectations, really—we now know—are quite unrealistic.”

While epilepsy surgeries can offer patients essentially a new chance at a seizure-free life, patients often underestimate the challenges to adjusting to such a drastic change. In an attempt to understand the long-term impacts that epilepsy surgery can have in the social aspects of patients’ lives, Sarah Wilson, PhD, and colleagues began to map these outcomes over a ≥15-year period.

The clinical neuropsychologist, and head, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, spoke to NeurologyLive® at the 2019 International Epilepsy Congress, June 22-26, in Bangkok, Thailand, about this work. She noted how patients can have autonomy challenges, issues with work-life adjustments, and changes in family dynamics, all of which are vital to the long-term success of the patient.

Wilson shared insight into how this can be addressed, and what steps need to be taken to educate patients on the long-term nature of the process and support them through it.

For more coverage of IEC 2019, click here.


Coleman H, McIntosh A, Wilson S. Living with epilepsy: patient perceptions of their epilepsy and its treatment 15 to 20 years after epilepsy surgery. Presented at: 2019 International Epilepsy Congress. June 22-26, 2019; Bangkok, Thailand. P348.

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