What is SEEG and is it a good fit for your Epilepsy Care?

Monday, November 13, 2023

In modern medicine, technological advancements and surgical techniques have revolutionized our ability to diagnose and treat complex neurological conditions. Stereoelectroencephalography, or SEEG, is one such innovation that holds the promise of improving the lives of individuals with difficult-to-treat epileptic seizures. In the United States, 3.4 million people are living with epilepsy. Studies show that around one-third of these people may have drug-resistant epilepsy.

"Drug-resistant epilepsy, marked by the persistence of seizures even after trying two different antiseizure medications, is a significant challenge," says Dr. Ana Serafini of the UI Health Epilepsy Program. "Recognizing this condition early on is crucial, as it opens the possibility of considering surgery as a solution. Surgery can potentially lead to a life with fewer or no seizures, offering hope for a brighter future."

SEEG is a minimally invasive technique that harnesses cutting-edge technology to identify the source of a patient's seizures precisely. SEEG is typically considered when other non-invasive diagnostic methods, such as video-electroencephalography (EEG) and neuroimaging, have not provided conclusive information about the location of the seizure focus.

During a SEEG procedure, thin electrodes are implanted directly into specific regions of the brain to record seizures and be able to correctly identify the seizure's focus. This helps our team determine the best route for surgical intervention to help either alleviate or minimize these seizures. The SEEG procedure enables neurosurgeons to explore areas in the brain where difficult-to-treat epileptic seizures originate.

Is SEEG Right for You?

Dr. Francesco Pucci of the Department of Neurosurgery
Francesco Pucci, MD
Specializes in the surgical treatment of adult and pediatric patients with epilepsy. Dr. Pucci works collaboratively with Dr. Serafina to perform SEEG for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Determining whether a patient is suitable for SEEG requires a comprehensive evaluation by a team of specialists, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, and neuropsychologists. SEEG is typically recommended in cases of drug-resistant epilepsy.

A patient is drug-resistant when they continue to experience seizures despite trying at least two different antiseizure medications at effective doses. Individuals with epilepsy that does not respond to medications are prime candidates for SEEG. In this group of patients, SEEG will help identify the seizure focus and evaluate all potential surgical options.

Thanks to SEEG, it is possible to:

  1. Identify the precise location of the seizure onset zone: SEEG maps the areas where seizures originate precisely in the brain. This information is crucial for planning potential surgical interventions, such as resective surgery or other treatments like neuromodulation.
  2. Mapping functional areas such as speech and motor functions: SEEG can map those regions to minimize the risk of post-surgical deficits when performing epilepsy surgery in eloquent brain areas.

Dr. Serafini highlights the role SEEG can play in a patient's care. "Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) plays a crucial role in the precise localization of epileptic brain regions. It provides invaluable insights into the origin of seizures, guiding neurosurgeons in tailoring surgical interventions and improving the quality of life for epilepsy patients. SEEG is an indispensable tool for achieving better outcomes in epilepsy management."

Click here to learn more about SEEG and the UI Health Epilepsy Program.