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Kan Ding, M.D. Answers Questions On Post-Traumatic Epilepsy

Kan Ding, M.D. Answers Questions On: Post-Traumatic Epilepsy

What is post-traumatic epilepsy?

Post-traumatic epilepsy is epilepsy that develops after traumatic brain injury (TBI). People who experience TBI are at high risk for developing epilepsy and seizures.

What is the risk level for developing epilepsy after TBI?

For patients who have had a severe brain injury, especially those with open skull penetration, the risk can be as high as 50 percent – meaning one of every two patients who’ve suffered severe TBI might develop post-traumatic epilepsy. The risk is significantly lower for those who’ve suffered a mild TBI such as a concussion.

But it can be more complicated than that, and we still do not completely understand the mechanism behind post-traumatic epilepsy. If two people suffer the same type of injury, one might develop epilepsy as a result and the other might not.

Are these seizures treatable with medication?

Not always. Some seizures that develop after TBI will be intractable, meaning we cannot treat the condition with medication. The only options involve surgery or devices to treat seizures, which can be complicated following a serious injury.

We are still studying this condition and in the future hope to be able to stop these seizures before they start immediately following an injury.