What is a corpus callosotomy?

Dr. Aria Fallah, MD

A corpus callosotomy is a procedure used for a very specific type of seizure, which is called the atonic seizure. This is a sudden loss of tone, which results in falls. Children may fall and hit their head or hit their arm and hurt themselves. In a corpus callosotomy the corpus callosum, the main highway of the brain where the left and right part of the brain communicate is removed. This prevents seizures from starting from one side of the brain and going to the other side, causing the fall. It can be a very effective treatment for that specific seizure type without the need to put in a permanent implantable device like a vagal nerve stimulator.

Corpus callosotomy surgery for epilepsy interrupts the spread of seizures by cutting the nerve fibers that connect one side of the brain (hemisphere) to the other. This nerve bridge is called the corpus callosum. The corpus callosotomy is indicated in some patients with drop attacks. In this procedure, the corpus callosum is sectioned or disconnected, usually at the front of the nerve bridge. The goal of this surgery is to prevent the spread of seizure discharges to both sides of the brain. This procedure does not stop seizure activity, but it lessens the risk of injury because it may limit the frequency and severity of seizures, especially those that cause falls.

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