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“I can start taking my children again”: a revolutionary new treatment at CHUM for patients with epilepsy

“I can start taking my children again”: a revolutionary new treatment at CHUM for patients with epilepsy

About a year ago, CHUM acquired new equipment that could change the lives of about 88,000 Quebecers who suffer from epilepsy.

This revolutionary treatment was made possible thanks to a device purchased at a cost of $450,000.

Father Mathieu Bergevin was the first patient to benefit from it.

Before receiving treatment, he could have up to 5 seizures per day. He has been living with this health problem for nine years.

“For me, it was my vision that became blurry. It can last for 5, 10 or 15 minutes sometimes. At that time, I don't know what I'm doing,” he explained to TVA Nouvelles.

Mr. Bergevin is no longer able to work, drive or care for his two-and-a-half-year-old son.

“You no longer have your independence, it's bullying someone,” he says.

However, the origin of his seizures was hidden deep in his brain.

“We implanted 15 electrodes in his brain, on the right side, in different locations to test different hypotheses,” says CHUM neurosurgeon Dr. Alain Bouthillier.

New treatment

His doctors were unable to find solutions to his seizures until CHUM acquired his new device.

“We are able to penetrate a laser probe as small as 2.5 mm in diameter into the brain and precisely target it to the epileptic focus,” notes Dr. Bouthillier.

“Here treatment is done with magnetic resonance,” he adds, “so the heat from the laser probe melts the epileptic focus.”

This type of treatment requires precise work down to the millimeter.

“If we exceed the volume we want to treat, if we treat too much, the patient can lose his vision and will not be able to see one side,” emphasizes Dr. Alain Bouthillier.

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For Mathieu Bergevin, the results have been very positive.

“The next morning it was as if nothing had happened. The patient goes home,” says the neurosurgeon.

“I can start taking my kids again, start driving again and regain some independence,” Mr. Bergevin says.

He will also be able to return to work after a forced break of six years.