What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures.
In order to best treat a patient who has experienced two or more seizures, it is important to identify the cause. Through an in-depth diagnostic process, PBNI’s epileptologists can order the most appropriate treatment plan for epileptic patients, while identifying patients who don’t have epilepsy.
At PBNI, our procedure begins with a thorough medical history that includes:
- Age of onset
- Risk factors
- Description of seizures
The physician will complete a comprehensive neurological examination.
Diagnosing epilepsy may include brain imaging, blood work, and electroencephalogram (EEG). EEG’s are conducted by putting electrodes on the patient’s scalp to record brain wave activity. We conduct EEG-video monitoring tests, which are considered the gold standard in epileptic diagnostics. These tests are effective because they allow our epileptologists to simultaneously examine brain wave activity and clinical findings. Depending on seizure frequency, patients may be required to stay in the hospital for several nights. Our team may use various measures to study a patient’s reaction to certain stimuli. Other imaging tests that may be used are CT (computerized tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans that help our team determine if there are any lesions in the brain that may be causing the seizures.
Once a diagnosis is made, our team will put together the best treatment plan to prevent further seizures and provide patients a better quality of life.
Treatment options may include the following:
Medication: When epilepsy is diagnosed, patients are put on anti-seizure medication. Our team works to find the most effective medication with the fewest side effects for each individual patient.
Surgery: If seizure medication is not effective, surgery may be an option. Our epileptologists will determine if the affected area(s) of the brain may be treated surgically. This may include the use of implantable devices that will help with seizure control.