A UK shortage of trained neuro-radiologists, the medical experts who
interpret MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans, is hindering the identification
of potential candidates for brain surgery that could cure their epilepsy,
according to the National Society
For Epilepsy (NSE).
The NSE warned that
while the problems surrounding the lack of neurologists, especially
those with a specialist interest in epilepsy, were already
widely recognised, the lack of neuro-radiologists was leading to as many
as 10,000 people with epilepsy not being identified as potential candidates
for surgery. The first step in assessing a patient's suitability for
surgery is an MRI scan. If there are insufficient experts to analyse
those scans, the number of candidates going forward for life-changing
surgery will be severely limited.
Professor John Duncan, NSE medical director and consultant neurologist
"By no means everyone
with epilepsy can have surgery. It depends on the type of epilepsy,
on whether the source of epileptic activity
is localised and if that point of origin is critical for everyday life.
Given those caveats, however, there is a significant number of people,
perhaps as many as 10,000 in the UK, who might be candidates for surgery.
The lack of specialist resource means that many of them are not identified
promptly as potential candidates for surgery."