A Stepwise Approach to Managing Seizures
Once we identify the location, type, and frequency of your child's seizures, we'll work with you to create a treatment plan. We take a holistic approach, assessing not only the biological basis of your child's seizures, but other factors in his or her life that may affect them. Your child's treatment may include one or more of these therapies:
- Many antiseizure medications are available to treat your child. If one doesn't work, we'll try another, and then another, until we find a treatment that works well.
- For children with other illnesses or disorders, such as migraines or depression, we try whenever possible to streamline therapy, using one medication to treat both conditions.
- We also work with your child and family to identify potential barriers to therapy in an effort to make treatment easier to follow.
- Dietary therapies include the ketogenic diet, a precisely calculated diet to help promote seizure control. The diet is high in fat (the primary energy source) and low in carbohydrates, and has enough protein to meet a child's needs for growth and development. Since the ketogenic diet is a restrictive structured diet, a dietitian works closely with each family to support the child's health and nutritional needs.
- Less restrictive dietary treatments include the low glycemic index diet and the modified Atkins diet.
- Our pediatric doctors and registered dietitians work together closely to calculate the right diet to help control each child's seizures.
- If your child's seizures have not been well controlled despite trying two or three antiseizure medications, and video-EEG monitoring has excluded other causes of your child's seizures, neurosurgery may be an option. Surgery for epilepsy involves removing tissue in the area of the brain where seizures are beginning.
- Our doctors use special subdural grid electrodes implanted in the brain to identify the site of your child's seizures and to map critical areas of the brain before epilepsy surgery. This mapping enables our neurosurgeons to pinpoint which areas of the brain can be removed safely. We may also use neuroimaging tests such as positive emission tomography and single-photon emission computed tomography to help determine where a seizure is starting to prepare for epilepsy surgery.
- Some young patients with seizures are candidates for a therapy called neuromodulation. We implant a small pacemaker-like device under the skin of your child's chest called a vagal nerve stimulator (VNS) to stimulate the nervous system and reduce the frequency and severity of your child's seizures.