Epilepsy

Comprehensive care for seizures in children

Our children’s hospitals have state-of-the-art technology and capabilities.

We treat the following types of seizures:

  • Focal (partial) seizure: occurs on one side of the brain and can spread to other areas. Before a focal seizure, your child may have an aura, or signs that a seizure is about to occur.
  • Tonic-clonic seizure: (grand mal): shaking and stiffening of the arms and legs.
  • Atonic seizure (drop seizure): sudden falling to the ground, leaving the child limp and unresponsive.
  • Absence seizure (petit mal): brief staring spells, can include eyelid flutter or lip smacking. These seizures usually start between ages 4-12.
  • Myoclonic seizures: lightning-fast jerking of the arms or legs, several times a day or for several days in a row.

Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center has an accredited Level IV Epilepsy Centers by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. This is the highest level possible and recognizes our comprehensive, high-quality care.

Multidisciplinary epilepsy care

We assemble a team of epilepsy specialists to help control your child’s seizures. We want your child to regain function, return to activities and achieve a good quality of life. Our specialists get to know your child and family, and develop a personalized and effective care plan. Our team includes:

  • Pediatric neurologists
  • Epileptologists
  • Epilepsy surgeons
  • Dedicated nurses
  • Video EEG technologists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Psychologists, social workers and child life specialists

Treatment of the most complex cases

The first step in your child’s care is a thorough assessment of symptoms and seizure activity. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital offers the Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) – a cornerstone of our program and the only dedicated pediatric EMU in the state. Staffed 24/7 by members of the pediatric epilepsy team, the unit offers 24-hour video EEG in a state-of-the-art room, equipped with full bathrooms, entertainment and Wi-Fi access.

Once the condition is diagnosed, we provide a personalized treatment plan which may include:

  • Medications, based on the type of seizure, your child’s age, side effects, cost, and ease of use. Your child may need periodic blood and urine tests and EEG, to see how well the medication is working.
  • Surgery to remove or disconnect parts of the brain responsible for seizures. Our epilepsy surgeons have exceptional experience performing these delicate operations.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation, with a device implanted under the skin of the chest. This generates electrical currents to correct abnormal brain activity. This may be an option for children ages 12 and older who have partial seizures not well controlled with medication.
  • Neuropsychological testing helps us understand and address how epilepsy impacts a child’s thinking and behavior in school and at home. This also helps the team plan for possible surgery.
  • Diet therapy, following modified Atkins and ketogenic diets—high-fat and low-carbohydrate diets specifically designed to control seizures. Some children on the ketogenic diet become seizure-free.

Genetic testing and counseling

Pediatric epilepsy is sometimes linked to genetic mutations. In some cases, epilepsy can be passed along in families. Genetic counselors are available to assess if your child’s epilepsy is caused by a mutation, and if a mutation may affect other family members. Our Center for Genetic and Genomic Medicine is one of the largest and most advanced genetic testing programs in New Jersey and provides expertise in rare genetic epilepsies.

For More Information

Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center
30 Prospect Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601
551-996-3200

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
551-996-8100

K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center
1945 Route 33, Neptune, NJ 07753

HOPE Tower at Jersey Shore University Medical Center
19 Davis Avenue, Neptune, NJ 07753
732-776-4551

Our Doctors

We assemble a team of epilepsy specialists to help control your child’s seizures. We want your child to regain function, return to activities and achieve a good quality of life. Our specialists get to know your child and family, and develop a personalized and effective care plan.

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