Roy Reynosa, 22, of Taft, California, had suffered from epileptic seizures since he was 12.

After years of being treated with anti-seizure medications that had no effect, he was resigned to a life of never knowing when or where a seizure might strike, which restricted his ability to work, travel, and attend school.

He sought treatment from a neurologist at Kern Hospital. Kern had just joined the Keck Medicine of USC-led Epilepsy Consortium that shares resources and expertise, which led Reynosa to Keck Hospital of USC and a specialized robotic surgical assistant that is giving brain surgery patients new hope.

Keck Hospital is the first adult hospital in Los Angeles County to use this robot, and Reynosa the first patient to take advantage of the device.  Reynosa underwent a procedure known as stereo-EEG, where neurosurgeon Brian Lee, MD, PHD, used the robotic assistant to surgically place electrodes in the young man’s brain to identify which part was the source of his seizures.

A procedure that normally would have taken six to eight hours took only two with the robotic assistant, and Reynosa woke up after surgery feeling fine.

With the use of the robot, Lee was able to pinpoint where the patient’s seizures came from. Next, Reynosa underwent another surgery where Lee destroyed the areas of the brain responsible for the seizures.

Today, Reynosa is seizure-free.

“For the first time, I can see light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

— Alison Rainey