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Laser Treatment for Epilepsy

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Wendy Damonte
Channel 2 News

Keagan Dysart used to have uncontrollable giggle fits two or three times every hour. Sometimes the nine year old would also suddenly become stiff and unresponsive. His father, Khris, explains, "with his seizures you never knew when or where it would happen. It was very scary for us."

Doctors diagnosed Keagan with epilepsy. Medication didn't work, so recently he became one of the first patients to undergo a new, minimally invasive surgical procedure at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Dr. Angus Wilfong performed the procedure. "A very exciting breakthrough that we think can transform the lives of people living with this devastating disease," said Dr. Wilfong.

In the past, patients like Keagan would have undergone a craniotomy, which involves cutting open part of the skull.  But the new technique allows doctors to enter the skull through a much smaller hole lowering the risk of infection and significantly reducing the recovery time.  Dr. Daniel Curry is also with Texas Children's Hospital. "Let that laser light into the target destroy the lesion without having to create a corridor to get to that lesion."

More than 3 million Americans have epilepsy, including about 300-thousand children. Uncontrollable seizures can affect a child's memory, motor skills and school performance.  Keagan's mom, Robin, says the procedure has changed her son's life. "He's noticing things he never noticed before like a sunset."

Since his surgery in March Keagan is seizure free. His doctors say he's cured.

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