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Return to How Epilepsy Is Treated Overview

More on How Epilepsy Is Treated

Neurology and Neuroscience

How Epilepsy Is Treated

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NewYork-Presbyterian epilepsy specialists typically begin a patient's therapy by prescribing antiseizure medications, which are effective in about two-thirds of patients. A variety of medications are available, with the choice dictated by the type of seizure, age of the patient, side effects and the patient's ability to take the medication as prescribed.

Our centers are widely known for treating patients whose seizures are not well controlled with medication. Some children and adults may benefit from a procedure called vagal nerve stimulation (VNS). NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is the most experienced center in the mid-Atlantic region for VNS. With this approach, a small pacemaker-like device implanted under the skin in the chest sends small electrical impulses to the vagus nerve to reduce the number and severity of seizures.

NewYork-Presbyterian's Comprehensive Epilepsy Centers are also leaders in the use of surgical treatments for patients with epilepsy that are not well controlled with medication, and are pioneering new approaches. Our surgeons employ brain mapping before and during surgery to carefully define regions of the brain near the area being considered for surgery, to maximize the effectiveness of surgery while minimizing side effects. Many different surgical approaches are available. For example, our surgeons may interrupt nerve fibers on the surface of the brain that carry the impulses responsible for epilepsy symptoms, or they may remove the specific area of the brain that is generating seizures. Most patients experience a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of their seizures after surgery, which our team performs with great success.

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