What is a seizure?
The brain consists of nerve cells that normally communicate with each other through electrical activity. A seizure occurs when part(s) of the brain receives a burst of abnormal electrical signals that temporarily interrupts normal electrical brain function.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition involving the brain that makes people more susceptible to having seizures. When a person has two or more seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.
Epilepsy is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system and affects people of all ages, ancestry and ethnic background.
Why Choose Us?
The Division of Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia specializes in the surgical treatment of infants, children and adolescents with brain tumors, epilepsy, cervical spinal trauma, and other conditions affecting the brain and spine.
Treatment for seizures and epilepsy
The goal of seizure management is to stop seizures without interfering with the child's normal growth and development and with as few treatment-related side effects as possible.
After a comprehensive evaluation and careful diagnosis, we will work with your family to develop a personalized seizure management plan, using both anti-seizure medications and other therapies, which may include epilepsy surgery for some patients.
Specific treatment for a seizure will be determined based on many factors. Treatments for your child's seizures may include:
- Medications: There are many types of medications used to treat seizures and epilepsy. Medications are selected based on the type of seizure, age of the child, side effects, the cost of the medication, and the adherence with the use of the medication.
- Ketogenic diet: Certain children who are having problems with medications, or whose seizures are not being well controlled, may be placed on a special diet called the ketogenic diet. This type of diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat.
- Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS): Some children, whose seizures are not being well-controlled with seizure medications, may benefit from a procedure called vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).
- Surgery: Surgery for epilepsy and seizures is a complex surgery performed by a specialized surgical team. The operation may remove the part of the brain where the seizures are occurring, or, sometimes, the surgery helps to stop the spread of seizures through the brain. If your child may benefit from epilepsy surgery, you will first have a detailed epilepsy surgery evaluation in order to determine if all the seizures are coming from a location that is safe to remove. We use modern minimally invasive technologies to develop a personalized epilepsy surgery plan for each child to optimize seizure control and minimize pain.
If your child’s care is managed at a hospital or doctor’s office closer to your home, we will collaborate with local providers to ensure coordinated care and the best possible seizure management for your child.