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Epilepsy procedure SEEG pinpoints, destroys brain's source of seizures

September 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It can happen anytime, anywhere. Every day, 3 million Americans fear a seizure will happen, and Jeff Martig was one of them.

"I was having about thirty a day," he said.

They started when Martig was 12. The seizures continued for the next 21 years, striking the high school athletic director at home and work.

"I would feel a sensation in my nose, and then my left side of my face would twitch and then I would start gasping for air," Martig said.

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic use Stereoelectroencephalography, or SEEG, to pinpoint exactly where in the brain the seizures start.

"It is basically a technique that is designed to assess where the seizure is coming from," said Imad Najm, a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic.

SEEG electrodes are snaked into the brain through tiny holes to record the electrical storms. New imaging tools can help doctors pinpoint the exact cause.

"We can see at the microscopic level some of these lesions," said Najm.

For the first time in patients with epilepsy, the lesions are being destroyed with lasers. In some cases the lasers go through the same holes created by the SEEG.

"We started using it to ablate small areas of the brain where the seizures may be coming from," said Najm.

After two decades of seizures, the problem area in Martig's brain was removed.

"I haven't had a seizure since. It's like a brand new person. It's amazing," he said.


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