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Epilepsy Center

Selective Amygdala / Hippocampus Surgery

The hippocampus and amygdala are two brain structures near the middle of the brain, in the temporal lobe. In patients whose epileptic seizures do not get better with anti-epileptic medication, these structures often turn out to be scarred, causing the onset of the seizures.

When evaluation with neuroimaging and EEG studies shows that seizures arise from the amygdala and hippocampus, patients undergo evaluation for a special, minimally invasive neurosurgical procedure called selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SAH). During SAH, the amygdala and hippocampus are specifically targeted for removal, while other surrounding structures are preserved. 

While SAH, as compared to other forms of surgery for temporal lobe epilepsy, provides equal seizure control and fewer side effects, it also provides a potential advantage because it is a minimally invasive surgery. With minimally invasive surgery, neurosurgeons can offer optimal treatment without further damaging other areas. Minimally invasive surgery typically results in fewer complications after surgery and a shorter hospital stay.

The neurologists and neurosurgeons at Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center have extensive expertise in evaluating patients for and performing selective amygdalohippocampectomy. The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center was one of the first epilepsy centers to routinely perform this procedure for treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy.

For a referral to a Washington University neurologist or neurosurgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call .

Epilepsy Patient, Neurosurgeon

Clint McMurphy from Makanda, IL was diagnosed with grand mal seizures and epilepsy at the age of 3. His doctors had it under control with medication most of his life, but by the time Clint was in his upper 20s, the seizures became uncontrollable, often making him lose consciousness.

Neurosurgeon Eric Leuthardt, MD, performed a focal resection, removing the tissue from Clint’s left temporal lobe that was responsible for epileptic seizures.

Learn more about Clint or see more patient stories.

 
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