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Epilepsy Treatment

The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is nationally certified as a Center of Excellence for its commitment to the most advanced epilepsy treatment and care. Our team of epileptologists, neurosurgeons and additional specialists collaborate to help you gain optimal control over your seizures. We offer a complete range of epilepsy treatment options, including anti-epileptic medications, implantable seizure-control devices and surgery.

Treating hundreds of patients each year, our epilepsy specialists lead the way in developing and refining the most successful epilepsy treatments. Barnes-Jewish was one of the first hospitals in the United States to use brain surgery on a regular basis to treat patients with seizure disorders that were unresponsive to medications.

More recently, physicians have developed less invasive surgical techniques using MRI guidance (iMRI and brain mapping) that allow some epilepsy surgeries to be performed through smaller incisions, resulting in less post-operative discomfort and faster recovery.

Epilepsy Treatment Options

About 60-70 percent of our epilepsy patients gain control of their seizures through medication. Our specialists are highly experienced in selecting the right medication and dosage, and we aim to optimize the use of medication before suggesting surgery. If your epilepsy does not respond to medication, your epileptologist may recommend the following treatments:

  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS): An implantable device is placed in the chest and sends electrical pulses to the brain to reduce seizures.
  • Responsive neurostimulation (RNS): A RNS device is placed under the skull to help detect the seizure patterns and send a pulse to stop the seizure.
  • Focal resection: This epilepsy surgery is performed to remove the portion of the brain that causes the seizures.
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy surgery: This procedure involves targeting the amygdala and hippocampus for removal, while other surrounding structures are preserved.
  • Brain laser surgery: Also used to treat brain tumors, brain laser surgery uses intraoperative MRI to guide a laser and focus it on a particular area in the brain tissue.

Before any operation you will undergo a neuropsychological evaluation/cognitive assessment to determine your language, memory and retention. This preoperative assessment helps your neurology team get a sense of what area of the brain the seizures are coming from and what your best treatment options are.

To make an appointment with a Washington University epileptologist, neurologist or neurosurgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 855.925.0631.

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#17 in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 866.867.3627
General Information: 314.747.3000
One Barnes-Jewish Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63110
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