Sidra Medicine performs first paediatric epilepsy surgeries
March 13 2019 09:53 PM
First epilepsy surgery team in the IMRIS suite.
First epilepsy surgery team in the IMRIS suite.


Sidra Medicine has successfully performed two major neurosurgeries on young epilepsy patients within a span of 10 days. The surgeries mark another first in a series of historic medical milestones achieved by the healthcare organisation in Qatar, since opening its inpatient hospital a year ago.

The first surgery was performed on a two year old girl at Sidra Medicine’s new neurosurgery intra-operative MRI theatre suite (IMRIS). Sidra Medicine is one of the few women and children’s hospitals in the region to have a dedicated paediatric IMRIS suite as well as several flagship paediatric sub-specialties including neurology, craniofacial and plastic surgery, urology and cardiology.

Alaa had a medically intractable epilepsy resulting in uncontrollable seizures multiple times a day, thereby increasing the risk of injuring herself. Her condition was not responsive to epilepsy medication and other non-invasive treatment options. Patients with intractable epilepsy also face the possibility of sudden unexplained death if they have seizures during their sleep.

Alaa’s pre-surgery consultation included diagnostic imaging with nuclear medicine and radiology to identify the abnormal tissue in the right side of her brain that was causing the epileptic seizures.

She was referred for neurosurgery by Sidra Medicine’s Division of Paediatric Neurology’s new sub-specialty Multidisciplinary Epilepsy Surgery clinic.

A team consisting of 21 medical and surgical professionals, led by division chief of Paediatric Neurosurgery, Dr Ian Pople and neurosurgeon Dr Khalid al-Kharazi, conducted the surgery for several hours including an hour for the use of the intraoperative MRI.

Dr Pople said, “Alaa’s surgery was highly complex as it also included electrical monitoring, to ensure that we didn’t stray into areas of the brain that were related to mobility. After the abnormal tissue was removed, we scanned her brain immediately with the MRI suite to ensure that no residual abnormal tissue was left. Our ability to do such advanced surgery is indicative of the level of expertise that we have in Qatar as well as the investment that the government of Qatar has made in offering state-of-the-art care.”

“We were initially very worried about her having to undergo major surgery at such a young age. We even sought a second opinion from Europe and were very reassured when we were told that the surgery and care that our child was receiving at Sidra Medicine from experts in neurology and surgery was at best practice global standards,” noted, Alaa’s mother.

The second neurosurgery case involved a 12 year old girl who had been suffering epilepsy for many years due to a benign tumour in the front of her brain. With multiple seizures a day, she was at constant risk of injury. She too was referred for surgery by the Multidisciplinary Epilepsy Surgery Clinic at Sidra Medicine.

The patient’s surgery, also conducted by Dr Pople and Dr al-Kharazi, involved the removal of the tumour and surrounding abnormal tissue. Since the operation, the patient has already seen her seizures reduced and is now on a medication programme to help manage her condition. It is hoped her seizures will eventually stop completely.

With the launch of the epilepsy neurosurgery at Sidra Medicine, paediatric patients in Qatar and the region now have access to state-of-the-art equipment and an international team of experts able to perform the most complex surgery and treatment procedures, eliminating the need to travel farther abroad for care and treatment.

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