Epilepsy is a disease that alters the way people live and now now doctors are using a robot to help treat patients that often leads to fewer seizures. Kaitlyn Swonke was just 17-years-old when she suddenly dropped on the softball field. Her Mother Kelly got a phone call to meet at the hospital and says "that's the beginning of a nightmare"
Over the next two years their lives were full of pain, and unpredictable seizures. Kaitlyn remembers “I was dropping every 45 minutes and the medicine wasn't working correctly"
Her mom Kelly realized that life had changed dramatically. "This isn't living. Dealing with violent seizures, that's not living, planting your face into every piece of furniture."
They found Dr. Nitin Tandon, with the Mischer Neuroscience Institute who uses the Rosa Robot to improve epilepsy. Dr. Tandon says "Of every three patients that we operate on, we make it to seizure-free or cured. It’s a two step process. The first step to to identify and map the area of the brain where the seizures are happening. The second step is to remove the tissue that is causing the seizure"
Dr. Tandon explains about one patient, "He will go off to the epilepsy unit after these electrodes are in (his brain), and we will record the brain areas making the seizures and then based on that we will be able to tell him and his family but his odds of success from epilepsy surgery are."
Kaitlyn had several challenges along the way, having to repeat one part of the treatment and post-surgery she had some memory and dexterity problems. After 11 months she has come along way, and hasn’t had a seizure in that time.
Dr. Tandon does not recommend this procedure for everyone, and says patients who have seizures that come from multiple parts of the brain or too deep inside the brain, are not good candidates for this approach.