Laser epilepsy procedure a success for Texas boy


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on April 24, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 24 at 10:46 AM

All his life, Keagan Dysart had seizures that looked like he was laughing. But they were not fun.

"It sounded like, almost like a maniacal giggle," explained Keagan's father Khris Dysart.

Up to three times an hour they would strike. He could stiffen or pass out. Day and night, they made a little boy's life difficult.

"I had trouble behaving," said Keagan, recalling the impact of the constant seizures on his moods.

Then Keagan became one of the first people in the world to undergo a new laser procedure.

His physician, Dr. Angus Wilfong, of Texas Children's Hospital's Comprehensive Epilepsy Program described the challenge in treating his young patient. The source of Keagan's seizures was a lesion deep in his brain.

"It was present in his brain when he was born," Dr. Wilfong said.

Medications hadn't worked to control Keagan's seizures. There was another option. In traditional surgery, doctors remove part of a patient's skull to reach and destroy a lesion. But complications of that surgery include paralysis and blindness.

At Texas Children's Hospital, doctors performed a new procedure. They cut a tiny hole in Keagan's skull, inserted a laser probe and used MRI imaging to find the lesion. Then the laser destroyed it. Keagan hasn't had a seizure since.

"Mommy and daddy have a new child," the boy smiled.

The absence of seizures has given Keagan the ability to engage in his world.

"He's noticing things he's never noticed before, like he'll notice a sunset," said his mother, Robin Dysart.

There was another change.

That laughing noise Keagan made during seizures was the only laugh his parents had ever heard from their son, until the procedure.

"First time we ever heard him laugh, (it was) pretty incredible," said a tearful Khris Dysart.

His son's life is now changed forever due to a pioneering procedure with a laser. 

Keagan's doctors think his success will change the way countless seizure victims are treated around the world.