Epilepsy Treatment Options
A leading provider of state-of-the-art care for pediatric and adult patients with epilepsy, we offer a wide range of prescription medications and surgical and non-surgical therapies that have proven to be effective at reducing or eliminating seizures.
For some pediatric patients, a special diet (ketogenic diet), similar to a low-carbohydrate diet, may be effective at controlling seizures. Many patients achieve significant benefits from proven antiepileptic drugs and do not require further therapies.
Patients who do not respond to diet or antiepileptic drugs may be considered for surgery. Most surgeries for epilepsy involve removing the diseased portion of the brain that is causing the seizures. In most cases, this section of the brain has not been functioning normally for a long period of time.
The location of the diseased area of the brain plays a large role in determining whether a patient is a candidate for surgery. For example, 85 to 95 percent of patients who undergo surgery in the temporal lobe area of the brain experience no further seizures (or at least a significant decrease in seizure frequency) and exhibit no significant negative effects from the surgery.
We are one of only a few area facilities offering new technologies that enhance the accurate detection of the source of a patient’s seizures. One of these technologies is brain mapping, which uses 3-D computer images of the brain to determine the precise location of seizure activity in the brain, in relation to functional areas of the brain. Another involves a recording of electrical impulses in the brain, conducting during surgery, to validate whether a specific section is normal or diseased.
Another groundbreaking technology we offer involves anesthetizing part of a patient’s brain to simulate brain functions that would occur after surgery (Intracarotid Amobarbital Test). This test is most often used for patients whose seizures originate in the left side of the temporal lobe. In the past, many of these patients were not candidates for surgery because of the risk of impairing important brain functions such as language or memory. Today this testing enables our neurosurgical team to determine — prior to performing surgery — whether patients can undergo surgery without negative effects.
An innovative new treatment, vagal nerve stimulation, is also available for patients who do not respond well to drug treatments and are not good candidates for surgery. This treatment involves implanting a pacemaker-like device in the chest and establishing an electrical connection to the patient’s vagal nerve. This device periodically sends an electric charge through the nerve to the brain to stop seizures. Patients can also control these electric impulses and can prevent seizures by triggering the charge when they feel the onset of a seizure.
For more information about our Epilepsy Clinic, please call (727) 461-8635.