British surgeons remove part of a woman's brain to cure her epilepsy

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A woman in the UK whose life had been blighted by epilepsy has had part of her brain removed to cure the condition.

Helen Hollis, 41, from Teversal, near Mansfield, Nottingham, a former nurse and the mother of two, had her first seizure aged 19, but had to wait years before her condition was diagnosed.

Mrs Hollis underwent the six-hour operation, on the 9th of May at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.

The surgical team believe the procedure has been highly successful as since the operation she has had no seizures. She is hoping to return to the health service after completing a counselling course.

Mrs Hollis says that during the fits she would often scream, shout and bite people, including on one occasion a doctor, and immense terror would come over her, but could then remember only "snatches" or sometimes nothing at all of the incidents. The attacks led to her being falsely diagnosed as a manic depressive.

She says the surgeon has told her that, technically, everything had gone just fine. She says she is getting on well and has had no seizures, although she still feels tired and in need a rest in the afternoon.

She feels very positive and has retained all her memories and also says the operation has restored her independence and she is now able to stare into the clouds without people thinking she is going into a trance.

Mrs Hollis says the illness had twice ruined her nursing career and she is now following a course in psychology and counselling at the University of Derby.

She also hopes to be able to drive a car again as soon as she is "weaned" off the epilepsy drugs that she is still required to take.

Her operation was featured on BBC1's City Hospital, so Mrs Hollis had the unusual opportunity of watching herself undergo the operation.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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