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The Latest Advanced Brain Surgery Technologies Are Giving Hope to the Epilepsy Community

December 15, 2023

By Amber Kaiser

Within the last year, I’ve learned about new brain surgery treatments to help people with epilepsy. Technology is always advancing in healthcare and has made more options available in the last decade. Brain surgery is becoming less invasive with laser ablation and even experimental stem cell therapy. In this article, I’ll share with you some of the latest news pieces and neurosurgery treatments. Doctors may not always tell you all your options, so it’s helpful to do your own research and stay educated on the latest resources available. Keeping yourself educated in your own health challenges is key!

What is the ROSA robot?

ROSA (Robotized Stereotactic Assistant), also known as ROSA ONE Brain, can be used in neurosurgery and was created in France in 2008 and “originally designed by Medtech to assist neurosurgeons in delicate brain surgeries on patients with Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy.” In my research, I noticed it didn’t become more widely known or used in the U.S. until around 2015. It helps a neurosurgeon more accurately place the electrodes and pinpoint the regions in the brain that are causing seizures, as well as provides minimally invasive brain surgery (like laser ablation or LITT) compared to a traditional craniotomy involving resection (which can also be effective in eliminating seizures, the most common being known as a temporal lobectomy or temporal lobe seizure surgery). 

The first time I saw one of the ROSA devices was last year at Epilepsy Awareness Day Disneyland, and I must say, it was very interesting! The idea of brain surgery for epilepsy is naturally scary to most people (and speaking from my own experience), but for some people with epilepsy and uncontrollable seizures, surgery to treat epilepsy may still provide the best treatment long-term.

Newest brain surgery options

1)      Stem Cell Treatment

Just a few months ago, I came across a super interesting news piece that covered a story of someone trying the latest experimental treatment with epilepsy surgery using stem cells which help produce GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that naturally helps calm the nerve cells. Learn more:

-NBC interview

-Detailed article from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

2)      Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT)

Laser ablation for epilepsy or the LITT procedure for epilepsy has been available in the U.S. for almost 15 years now, with 2 systems FDA cleared in 2007 and 2009--the Visualase Thermal Therapy System and NeuroBlate System. The Mayo Clinic also explains how the minimally invasive neurosurgery for epilepsy LITT works.


3)      Responsive Neurostimulation (RNS)

RNS is an FDA approved brain-responsive neurostimulator launched in 2013 by NeuroPace with a “next generation” RNS System more recently launched in 2018. It is “a neurostimulation system designed to prevent epileptic seizures at their source” and continually monitors your brain waves. Learn more.


More Epilepsy and Brain Surgery Stories

1)      In NPR’s show Short Wave, “host Aaron Scott talks with NPR science correspondent Jon Hamilton about the advances in treating epilepsy. He explains why folks should ask their doctors about surgery—even if it wasn't an option for them a few years ago.”


2)      A teenager finally got the chance to have a craniotomy surgery at Stanford Children’s Hospital.


3)      If you want to learn more about my story with epilepsy and brain surgery, check it out here.

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