What is a corpus callosotomy?
A corpus callosotomy is an operation which divides the corpus callosum. This is the main fibre bundle that connects the right and left sides of the brain to each other. In the normal brain, electrical activity flows from one side to the other. In children with epilepsy, abnormal electrical activity can also travel across this connection. Dividing all or part of the corpus callosum reduces this abnormal flow from one side of the brain to the other, and so can help children with certain kinds of epilepsy.
Corpus callosotomy is not a curative epilepsy surgery procedure, but is rather considered palliative. The operation takes place under general anesthesia, which is a medicine which puts them very deeply to sleep and takes between three and four hours. Your head will not be shaved completely, just a line where the doctors will make the one incision over the top of your head. The doctors will cut through the corpus callosum. A small window of bone is removed to perform the surgery, and then replaced after the corpus callosum has been divided. After the operation, they will close up your skin and fix it with stitches.
Who Is a Candidate for a Corpus Callosotomy?
A corpus callosotomy may be performed in people with the most extreme and uncontrollable forms of epilepsy, when frequent seizures affect both sides of the brain. People considered for corpus callosotomy are typically those who do not respond to treatment with antiseizure medications.
Some children suffer from seizures called ‘drop attacks’. When children have a drop attack they suddenly fall to the ground, either with a sudden jerk (myoclonic seizure), by going stiff (tonic seizure) or floppy (atonic seizure). These seizures can cause injury. A corpus callosotomy works best for these types of seizures.