Epilepsy Monitoring Unit/Surgery Program

For epilepsy patients who do not benefit from medication, epilepsy surgery may be an option. Epilepsy surgery attempts to remove the part of the brain that is causing seizures (called the "seizure focus"). Success often depends on the part of the brain that is causing the seizures.

Michigan's premier epilepsy surgery program

Henry Ford has the largest epilepsy surgical practice in the state of Michigan. Our surgical outcomes for temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common type, show more than 80 percent reduction in seizures in more than 90 percent of patients, and complete elimination of seizures in the great majority.

For patients with seizures caused by brain tumor or scar tissue, surgery to remove the tumor or identified tissue eliminates the seizures in most cases. The Henry Ford epilepsy surgery team provides intraoperative language and motor mapping of the brain to preserve vital functions for each patient.

Surgical interventions include:

  • Focal Resection: seizures in the temporal, parietal, frontal or occipital lobes may be treated surgically if the seizure-producing area can be safely removed without damaging vital functions
  • Corpus Callosotomy: separating the nerve bridge that connects the two halves of the brain confines the epileptic discharge, reducing generalized seizures
  • Functional Hemispherectomy: a procedure to remove all or almost all of one side of the brain may be performed. While it seems impossible that someone could function with only half a brain, the half that remains takes over many of the functions of the half that was removed.

Determining epilepsy surgery candidates

Not everyone is a candidate for epilepsy surgery. The Henry Ford Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has a seven-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) at Henry Ford Hospital and four-bed EMU at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, where our specialists evaluate patients resistant to medication to determine if surgery is an option. The process typically takes between a few months to a year to complete depending on each patient's evaluation and schedule.

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