When multiple medications fail to stop epileptic seizures, a patient’s best hope for gaining control of their seizures is often epilepsy surgery. That can only happen if the doctors can identify the area of the brain responsible for the seizure and remove it safely. To identify that spot, neurosurgeons may perform a craniotomy, which creates a large opening in the skull. A plastic grid of electrodes is then placed on the surface of the brain to record the seizures and identify where they are coming from.
“They can provide a good recording of signals,” said Saurabh R. Sinha, MD, PhD, a neurologist specializing in epilepsy, and medical director of Duke’s epilepsy center. “But because they sit on the surface of the brain, the electrodes can’t access the folds or the parts of the brain between the two hemispheres, and its deep structures.”
Now, the team at Duke’s epilepsy center is using a robot to place depth thin electrode wires in precise locations in a very rapid manner. The procedure is called robot-assisted stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG).