An epileptologist is a doctor who specializes in caring for people of all ages with epilepsy, also called seizure disorder. Epileptologists are neurologists with extra training and education in diagnosing and managing various kinds of seizures.
If your doctor diagnoses or suspects you have epilepsy, you may be referred to a neurologist. However, if your seizures are difficult to diagnose or do not respond to standard therapy, consider seeing one of the experienced epileptologists at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
The advantage of coming to Barnes-Jewish is that you’ll receive specialized care from not just your epileptologist, but an entire team of experts who collaborate on the right treatment for your seizures. We’re also an Academic Medical Center (AMC) and partner of Washington University School of Medicine, meaning we pioneer the use of the latest treatments and offer clinical trials.
Conditions Treated by Epileptologists
Our epileptologists diagnose and treat seizures, including epileptic seizures. Epilepsy results from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. There are other causes of seizures that are not epilepsy, such as low blood sugar or alcohol withdrawal. Your epileptologist at Barnes-Jewish will determine your type of seizure, which may involve staying at our state-of-the-art epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) for testing. Through this 12-bed facility, we are able to see about 360 epilepsy patients every year.
Services Provided by Epileptologists
At the EMU, our epileptologists order or perform various procedures and treatments to diagnose epilepsy or a different cause of your seizures.
Our epileptologists are able to provide the following testing and screening exams:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) records the brain's electrical activity using painless electrodes on the scalp. This test may help your care team better understand your seizure type, prognosis and the most appropriate treatment.
- Video EEG monitoring allows your epileptologist to view your seizures directly over a longer period of time — hours or days — than a routine EEG. It also provides more information than a routine EEG, combining EEG with video information to fully understand and characterize your seizures.
- Invasive video-EEG monitoring provides additional seizure recording. This requires a neurosurgeon to surgically place electrodes inside the head. Invasive video-EEG monitoring can confirm the precise site of seizure activity in the brain.
- Neuropsychological testing evaluates cognitive function, including memory and language performance.
- Brain imaging tests look for the sites and possible causes of seizures. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show the structure of the brain. Positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans check brain functioning. These scans are often combined to gather both structural and functional brain information.
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) checks the cerebrospinal fluid in the spine for bleeding, hemorrhage, infection or other causes of seizures.
The main treatment for epilepsy is medication. An epileptologist does not perform surgery on the brain, but will work closely with our neurosurgeons to determine if surgery is an appropriate treatment for your epilepsy.
To make an appointment with a Washington University epileptologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call 855.925.0631.