Epilepsy is an ongoing disorder of the nervous system that produces sudden, intense bursts of electrical activity in the brain. This causes seizures, which may briefly affect a person's muscle control, movement, speech, vision or awareness. People with epilepsy have repeated seizures that usually occur without warning and often for no clear reason. If epilepsy is not treated, seizures may occur throughout a person's life and in some cases become more severe and more frequent over time.
The medical and surgical experts at the Cedars-Sinai Epilepsy Program work closely together to offer a multi-disciplinary approach to treating epilepsy. The team consists of neurosurgeons, epileptologists (neurologists specializing in epilepsy), clinical nurse specialists, neuropsychologists and social workers. Comprehensive evaluation and treatment options are offered to patients in close cooperation with the Department of Neurosurgery's Epilepsy Consultatory Specialty Clinic. The clinic evaluates patients for medication trials as well as offer an evaluation for epilepsy surgery. The Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery also features an inpatient Epilepsy Monitoring Unit to evaluate potential candidates for epilepsy surgery as well as differentiating seizures from other conditions. The other diagnostic studies include neuropsychological testing, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain , positron emission tomography (PET) studies of the brain, magnetic source imaging testing the epileptic magnetic activity of the brain, as well as Ictal SPECT. Ictal SPECT is a localizing procedure that involves the injection of a radioactive tracer during a seizure in a patient continuously monitored with video and EEG and scanning the patient later to visualize the site of seizure activity.
Patients that are not candidates for resective epilepsy surgery may benefit from a vagal nerve stimulator implantation, which stimulates the vagal nerve and may reduce seizure frequency. We offer this treatment for select candidates and have clinics that program this device.
For additional information on the Cedars-Sinai Epilepsy Program, please click here.