A hemispherectomy is the surgical removal of one half of the brain leaving the deep structures intact. Hemispherectomy is only considered for patients (usually children) who have severe epilepsy with seizures arising from only one side of the brain.
This procedure is a last resort in children with severe brain damage on one side and seizures that do not respond to medication. It involves removing the entire affected side of the brain. The remaining hemisphere develops language and motor areas for both sides of the body. With intense rehabilitation, many patients will lead functional lives.
During the procedure, the surgeon removes portions of the affected hemisphere, often taking all of the temporal lobe but leaving the frontal and parietal lobes. The surgeon also gently separates the hemispheres to access and cut the corpus callosum. After the tissue is removed, the dura and bone are fixed back into place, and the scalp is closed using stitches or staples. Most people who have a functional hemispherectomy will be able to return to their normal activities, including work or school in 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.
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