Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
During corpus callosotomy, the patient is under general anesthesia, lying on the back. The head is fixed in place with blunt pins attached to a rigid structure. The head is shaved either before or during the procedure.
Incisions are made in the...
top of the skull to remove a flap of bone, exposing the brain. The outer covering is cut, and the two hemispheres are pulled slightly apart to expose the corpus callosum. The fibers of the corpus callosum are cut, taking care to avoid nearby arteries and ventricles (fluid-filled cavities in the brain).
Once the cut is made and any bleeding is controlled, the brain covering, bone, and scalp are closed and stitched.
Corpus callosotomy (or less frequently, callotomy) is a surgical procedure that disconnects the cerebral hemispheres, resulting in a condition called split-brain.
Most modern callosotomies involve only the anterior portion of the corpus callosum, reflecting the fact that the frontal and temporal lobes are the most commonly involved in the genesis of seizures. The deficits from this modified procedure are milder; side-effects have not been found in some patients (although it is very unlikely that none exist).
The corpus callosum is usually severed in order to stop epileptic seizures. Once the corpus callosum is cut, the brain has much more difficulty sending messages between the hemispheres. Although the corpus callosum is the largest white-matter tract connecting the hemispheres, some limited interhemispheric communication is still possible via the anterior commissure and posterior commissure. When tested in particular situations, it is obvious that information transfer between the hemispheres is reduced.
Surgery for removal is generally advised for patients with limited cancer elsewhere in the body and a single brain metastasis.
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