At least one third of patients treated with epilepsy drugs do not respond to treatment, so epilepsy surgery is usually an alternative to them.
But according to neurosurgeon Enrique De Font Réaulx, this is the least used resource for treating this disease because people are not referred to the doctor in time or are afraid of having surgery.
The specialist explained Efe that between 50% and 80% of the people who undergo this surgery can be cured. But "people fear that after the operation they will be affected somehow".
Every year, on the second Monday of February, the International Day of Epilepsy is celebrated to raise awareness of this disease.
Epilepsy is a disease that occurs when brain neurons emit discharges when they are not, and which generate crises that are manifested mainly by seizures.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that a single seizure "does not mean epilepsy" because epilepsy is defined "by two or more unconscious seizures."
The specialist explained that one of the serious problems in this disease is the lack of diagnosis because more than 65% of people with active epilepsy are not treated.
This, he said, responds to economic, cultural and social issues.
Especially because people do not have the resources to go to an expert, and in addition, those suffering from this condition are often stigmatized.
"A person with epilepsy is usually referred by family or community and denied access to medical care," he said.
De Font found that the diagnosis is important, not only in a timely but correct manner, as there are several types of epilepsy, and therefore not all pharmacological treatments respond.
The specialist noted that approx. Two thirds of people with this disease are well controlled with one or more anticonvulsant drugs.
However, despite the treatment with recurrent seizures, the second third continues, and they are the ideal candidates for epilepsy surgery.
This surgery, added to the neurosurgeon, consists of interrupting or removing a sufficient critical mass from the epileptogenic circuit of the brain responsible for the crisis.
"Although it can be done with a laser, it is safest to open the skull, which is as safe as driving the stomach," he said.
It takes one or two weeks for the patient to recover and then cure or greatly reduce the number of attacks.
In Mexico, there are few specialized centers to perform this type of surgery and one of them is the epilepsy clinic in ABC Medical Center, of which Dr. The Font is a member.
The specialist pointed out the importance of treatment because a person who is not treated can have many disadvantages.
"There are those who cannot study, run, work or create a family," he said.
In addition, he said there is a significant risk of death if there are very frequent crises. In addition to the damage that occurs, it can be serious.
In addition, there is a risk of sudden and unexpected death or loss of life due to asphyxia or arrhythmias.
And although it is not very common, some people may also die due to aspiration pneumonia, or they may commit suicide due to the situation.
Therefore, the specialist stressed the importance of timely diagnosis and treatment so that he urged the population to pay attention to the symptoms.
Among these, besides seizures, there may be absenteeism, involuntary movements of the feet, fingers, hands that may be confused with tics, anxiety or panic attacks, unwarranted, uncontrollable laughter or visual phenomena.