About 81,000 people are currently diagnosed with epilepsy in Sweden. Anyone can develop the disorder, regardless of age or gender, but it is more common to develop epilepsy during the first year of life or after the age of 70.
Most patients with epilepsy can be treated successfully with medication, but around one-third of all patients develop what is referred to as drug-resistant epilepsy and continue to have seizures despite pharmacological treatment. In these cases, an epilepsy surgery investigation may be recommended to investigate whether the patient’s seizures can be reduced with the help of surgery.
The cause of an episode varies from person to person. Some patients experience seizures more often when they feel stressed or tired, and others might get seizures from blinking lights. Signs of seizure and symptoms can include:
- Temporary confusion
- Stiff muscles
- A sudden change of sight or hearing
- Loss of awareness
For many patients, epilepsy is lifelong and affects all aspects of life. Epileptic seizures can be a constant source of worry for patients and their families. Children with epilepsy often have problems with learning and attention.
Generally, two or more unprovoked seizures occurring at least 24 hours apart are required to start a diagnostic process.
Our work is carried out by a multidisciplinary team consisting of child and adult neurologists, neurophysiologists, radiologists, epilepsy nurses, psychologists, speech therapists, and neurosurgeons. During the investigation, VideoEEG is carried out, both outpatient and inpatient, and sometimes invasive monitoring with deep electrodes in the brain (stereo EEG) is necessary. We are the first center in Sweden to have introduced robot-assisted implantation of stereo EEG.
At Karolinska's epilepsy unit, we offer a wide range of epilepsy surgeries, such as lesionectomies, temporal lobe resections, amygdalohippocampectomies, callosotomies, and hemispherectomies. The team also carries out the implantation of neurostimulation equipment, such as vagus nerve stimulators, deep brain stimulation, and invasive EEG, such as SEEG. For suitable candidates, we can offer minimally invasive laser treatment (laser interstitial thermal therapy, LITT). Karolinska University Hospital also has the country's only stereotactic radiosurgery unit (Gamma Knife) available for the treatment of epilepsy.