All patients referred to the center are first evaluated by an adult or child neurologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. Neurologists at the Regional Epilepsy Center work with patients' referring physicians to determine appropriate treatment plans. They oversee all diagnostic procedures and medical and dietary treatments. If surgery is necessary, neurologists and neurosurgeons work joiuntly in all surgical procedures. A list of neurologists at the center is available here.
Antiepileptic drug treatment is the most important therapy for epilepsy and can successfully control seizures in the majority of patients. The medical staff has extensive experience in the use of the newest anti- epileptic drugs. The hospitals have 24-hour, quality-assured antiepileptic drug level services, pharmacokinetic consultative services, and close ties with the Departments of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics at the UW School of Pharmacy. The centers have a long tradition of clinical and laboratory research and testing of antiepileptic medications. More information about common antiepileptic drugs is available here.
Neurosurgery can dramatically reduce the frequency of seizures and enhance the quality of life for select patients, with benefits far surpassing risks.
Although the majority of patients on medication will ultimately achieve control of their seizures, about 25 percent of patients are medication-resistant. Surgical treatment is considered when disabling or life-altering seizures persist despite medication. Pre-surgical testing is complex and is designed to find the location in the brain that is causing the seizures and to determine if that area can be removed safely. After surgery, the need for medication is often greatly reduced.
Today, neurosurgeons at the Regional Epilepsy Center and the Children’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center perform all types of surgery to treat epilepsy, including placement of subdural and depth electrodes, dominant and nondominant temporal lobectomies, extratemporal resections, hemispherectomies, corpus callosotomies, and MRI-guided laser ablation. The Regional Epilepsy Center also performs second operations in selected patients when initial evaluations or resections have been unsuccessful.
A list of neurosurgeons at the center is available here.
Many people with epilepsy report memory and mood problems that affect important aspects of their lives, such as employment.
The opportunity for neuropsychological testing is available to every patient at the Regional Epilepsy Center. This individualized testing provides a systematic assessment of cognitive abilities and of adjustment. It also helps patients set expectations and make plans for the future. Testing is very thorough and typically takes a full day or more.
When surgery for epilepsy is being considered, these tests are an integral part of the pre-surgical evaluation. Identification of particular neuropsychological deficits may help localize the epileptic focus and determine rehabilitation outcome. Wada angiographic testing is also performed to help locate speech and memory functions. Testing after surgery is also possible to determine any changes that may have occurred.
A list of neuropsychologists at the center is available here.