: Kharkiv doctors perform first-of-a-kind surgery in Ukraine
Society17:38 Mar. 27, 2016

Kharkiv doctors perform first-of-a-kind surgery in Ukraine

Nerve stimulating implant provides hope for people suffering from epilepsy

Doctors in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv are now able to perform unique operations on children suffering from epilepsy. For the first time in Ukraine, two young patients got implants that trick the nervous system and avoid the seizures.

Nine-year-old Ilya was diagnosed with epilepsy at the tender age of two. Since then, the boy almost got used to the daily routine of epileptic seizures.

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It has now been two days since Ilya when through the surgery - he was the first in Ukraine to receive a nerve stimulation device.

His surgeon says the implant sends pulses to the brain almost tricking the nervous system and preventing the seizure.

Oleksandr Dukhovsky, Chief Surgeon at the Children's Neurosurgery Unit at Kharkiv Regional Hospital: "This is the device that is programmed to generate pulses of electricity. It's almost like a pacemaker. In people with epilepsy the brain cells are programmed a bit differently, sometimes they omit the electrical signals. This implant helps fix that."

Ilya did not have a single seizure since the operation. He speaks a bit slowly but assures everything is alright.

The doctors say they are going to monitor Illya's condition over the next few months.

Oleksandr Dukhovsky, Chief Surgeon at the Children's Neurosurgery Unit at Kharkiv Regional Hospital: "We are going to pay close attention to the way the nerve stimulator works. It's adjustable so we still need to figure out the number of pulses and the frequency Ilya needs to prevent epileptic seizures. This is not a cure but a therapy to help patients suffering from constant seizures."

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Although not a cure, medics say the operation will grant Ilya a chance at a normal life. The only concern now is the replacement of the batteries in the stimulator - those have to be changed every ten years.

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