Meet Dr. Ghazala Perven
Dallas Neurologist Specializing in Epilepsy
Epilepsy is often called an “electrical storm” of the brain, a description that evokes not only the neurological phenomenon that causes epileptic seizures but their disruptive, sometimes devastating effect on daily life.
Neurologist Ghazala Perven, M.D., is dedicated to helping patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center reduce the number of seizures they experience – and, when possible, stopping them altogether – using insights from the latest research and care options.
Thanks to Dr. Perven’s specialized expertise and close collaboration with expert UT Southwestern colleagues in neurology and neurosurgery, she is frequently able to help patients achieve such positive and dramatic transformations in their lives.
“We have had many patients come to us having two or three seizures per week, and they thought that was acceptable,” she says. “We were able to provide them with a precise evaluation and, from there, a surgical procedure pinpointed to the area of their brain that was causing the seizures, and they are now seizure free.”
One such patient, Dr. Perven recalls, was a middle-aged woman who had frequent and complex partial seizures.
“She couldn’t hold a job, she couldn’t drive, and she couldn’t participate in her children’s activities,” Dr. Perven says. “She received a right-temple lobectomy, and she now has no seizures and no functional deficits. It completely changed her quality of life – and her family’s.”
Dr. Perven believes UT Soutwestern’s multidisciplinary approach is a key to her patients’ success.
“Our group takes a very collaborative approach, working closely with nurse practitioners, neuropsychologists, and other members of the clinical team. When we work together, there are more ideas, and we can provide more comprehensive care,” she says.
Improving Understanding of Epilepsy
Medical research shows that epilepsy is often undertreated; many people with epilepsy who continue to have seizures with medication are not referred for surgical evaluation because their doctors are not aware that they may be candidates for surgery.
In addition, many families and patients are somewhat frightened of the idea of brain surgery. Dr. Perven says that makes education and communication important both for patients and community physicians.
Of the many impacts of epilepsy on a person’s life, the condition can be especially devastating to women of childbearing age who are sometimes told that they cannot have children. For example, Dr. Perven recalls a female patient in her 20s who had been told she could not have children when she was diagnosed with epilepsy four years earlier. Dr. Perven reassured the young woman that this pronouncement was not true.
“I told her that she could have children,” Dr. Perven says, “and that we would just need to manage, simplify, and monitor her medication so that she could achieve maximum seizure relief with minimum effect on her unborn baby. She was so happy she was crying.”