Sumeet Vadera, MD: Barriers to Getting Patients to Epilepsy Surgery

December 8, 2019

The director of epilepsy surgery and associate professor of neurosurgery at UC Irvine discussed the challenges he has encountered in getting patients with epilepsy to undergo beneficial procedures, often due to misinformation.

“One of the biggest hindrances to people getting surgery is the fact that there’s a lot of misinformation about surgery, in general, out there. I’ve had patients come to me, and they say that their primary doctor or their neurologist said they’d become paralyzed, they’ll be blind—that they can become a zombie if they have surgery.”

Epilepsy surgery has come a long way since its inception, with many procedures now being minimally invasive. When possible to conduct, it can result in complete seizure freedom for 50% to 80% of patients, Sumeet Vadera, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery, and director, epilepsy surgery, UC Irvine, told NeurologyLive at the 73rd annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES), December 6-10, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Despite this, however, many patients who are viable candidates for surgery still do not get the procedure for various reasons—many due to unfortunate misconceptions about the possible outcomes. “Nowadays, epilepsy surgery is very safe. The benefits far outweigh the risks with the surgery. It’s one of the few things we can do in neurosurgery that actually cures someone,” Vadera said.

Its benefits, he explained, can include not just seizure freedom and all that comes along with it, but improvement in the quality of life and depression scores, as well as cognitive function. To find out more about these barriers which are preventing more people from undergoing surgery, NeurologyLive sought Vadera’s insight.

For more coverage of AES 2019, click here.