What Is a Corpus Callosotomy?: Side Effect, Risk, During & After

What Does Corpus Callosotomy Involve?

Corpus callosum, situated deep within the brain, acts as a bridge of nerve fibers connecting its two hemispheres. While facilitating information exchange between hemispheres, it also aids in the propagation of seizure signals from one hemisphere to the other. Corpus callosotomy, therefore, entails surgically severing this connection, thereby halting the spread of seizures across hemispheres. Although seizures persist on the originating side post-procedure, their severity typically diminishes since they are unable to propagate to the other hemisphere.

Who Qualifies for a Corpus Callosotomy?

A corpus callosotomy, also known as split-brain surgery, is considered for individuals experiencing severe and uncontrollable epilepsy, where frequent seizures impact both hemispheres of the brain. Candidates for this procedure are typically those who have not responded to conventional antiseizure medications.

What Occurs Prior to a Corpus Callosotomy?

Before undergoing a corpus callosotomy, candidates undergo a thorough pre-surgical assessment, which includes seizure monitoring, electroencephalography (EEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET). These examinations aid in identifying the seizure onset locations and their propagation within the brain, assisting the physician in determining the suitability of a corpus callosotomy as a treatment option.

What Occurs During a Corpus Callosotomy?

During a corpus callosotomy, the brain is exposed through a craniotomy procedure. Following anesthesia induction, an incision is made in the scalp, a section of bone is removed, and a portion of the dura mater, the brain’s protective membrane, is retracted. This provides access for specialized instruments to disconnect the corpus callosum, with the surgeon delicately separating the brain hemispheres. Surgical microscopes enhance the view for precise manipulation.

In certain instances, the procedure is conducted in two phases. Initially, the front two-thirds of the corpus callosum is severed while preserving the rear segment to maintain visual information sharing between hemispheres. If this fails to control severe seizures, the remaining portion of the corpus callosum may be cut in a subsequent surgery. Subsequently, the dura mater and bone are repositioned, and the scalp is closed using sutures or staples.

After undergoing a corpus callosotomy, patients typically remain hospitalized for a duration of two to four days. Following surgery, most individuals can resume their regular activities, such as work or school, within six to eight weeks. Hair around the incision site will gradually regrow, concealing the surgical scar. Additionally, patients will maintain their regimen of antiseizure medications.

How Effective Is a Corpus Callosotomy?

What is the Efficacy of Corpus Callosotomy?
Corpus callosotomy demonstrates success in halting drop attacks, or atonic seizures characterized by sudden loss of muscle control leading to falls, in approximately 50% to 75% of instances. Such intervention can mitigate injury risks and enhance the individual’s quality of life.

What Side Effects Can Result from Corpus Callosotomy?

After undergoing a corpus callosotomy, individuals may experience the following symptoms, typically resolving spontaneously:

Numbness in the scalp
Fatigue or feelings of depression
Challenges in speaking, memory retention, or word retrieval
Paralysis, weakness, or decreased sensation
Alterations in personality

What are the potential hazards of undergoing a Corpus Callosotomy?
While serious complications are rare following a Corpus Callosotomy procedure, there are associated risks, including:

1. Surgical risks such as infection, bleeding, and allergic reactions to anesthesia
2. Brain swelling
3. Unilateral unawareness of bodily sensations
4. Impaired coordination
5. Speech difficulties like stuttering
6. Elevated occurrence of partial seizures (localized to one side of the brain)
7. Stroke

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