Epilepsy and Seizure DisordersEpilepsy is a neurological condition involving the brain that makes people more susceptible to having recurrent seizures. It is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system and affects people of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds.
At Hackensack Meridian Health, our goal is to treat all of your individual symptoms in order to improve your quality of life and neurological function. We have three epilepsy and seizure disorders treatment locations across New Jersey so you can access the most advanced medical and surgical procedures for diagnosing and treating epilepsy close to home: Hackensack University Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and JFK University Medical Center.
Our specially trained epileptologists – physicians with advanced training in the care of people with seizures – collaborate with a team of physicians with expertise in a wide range of specialties to create a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan for you.
Our team includes:
- Board-certified epileptologists
- Pediatric and adult neurologists
- Epilepsy surgeons
- Neuropsychologists and counseling psychologists
- Specially trained nurses
- EEG technologists who specialize in electroencephalography, a brain wave test for monitoring epilepsy
- Physical and occupational therapists
- Registered dietitians
- Other hospital staff who provide services, such as social workers and life specialists
Our medical teams are particularly skilled at using the latest treatments and technologically advanced surgical options to treat refractory seizures that do not respond to medication or diet.
Specialized Pediatric Epilepsy and Seizure Care and Treatment
Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center treat the full spectrum of neurological conditions in children, including the most rare and complex.
Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital was the first in New Jersey to implant a responsive neurostimulation (RNS) device in a pediatric patient to treat drug-resistant focal epilepsy.
Our pediatric epilepsy monitoring units are the only monitoring units in New Jersey with board-certified pediatric neurologists who have advanced training and years of experience in pediatric seizure assessment, diagnostic testing, treatment and follow-up care.
How We Diagnose Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
To determine the type, cause and location of your seizures, our epileptologists will evaluate your health history, perform neurological and neuropsychological exams and order diagnostic tests, which may include:
- Blood tests to help your physician diagnose health conditions that cause seizures.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain activity and identify the source of seizures. The types of EEGs performed include routine EEG, 24-hour ambulatory EEG, and sEEG.
- Stereotactic electroencephalogram (sEEG) exams place electrodes directly in the brain to precisely identify where epileptic seizures start.
- Neuroimaging tests that can identify brain abnormalities that may be causing seizures, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI, positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans.
- Genetic testing and counseling utilizes the latest tests such as whole-exome sequencing to diagnose and treat rare and inherited genetic conditions for both children and adults.
Epilepsy and Seizure Treatment Options
Our goal is the same as yours; to stop or decrease the frequency of the seizure, without interfering with your normal activities of daily living.
- Medication. Your epileptologist will help you find the best possible medication for seizure control with minimal side effects.
- Alternative therapies, such as hormonal treatment.
- Diet modification is a powerful treatment for epilepsy and may be useful in addition to medication or other therapies. Our registered dietitians can work closely with our epileptologists to design a specific dietary plan for you.
- Supportive care. Our team includes counseling psychologists, neuropsychologists, and social workers who work with you to manage depression, anxiety and other challenges that may arise during your epilepsy treatment.
- Stereotactic EEG brain mapping: We place electrodes into tiny holes in the scalp and monitor them for several days or weeks to identify where epileptic seizures originate.
- Stereoelectroencephalography-guided resective surgery is a cutting-edge surgical option for uncontrollable epileptic seizures. A neurosurgeon places electrodes in different areas of the brain to identify where epileptic seizures originate and removes the area of the brain that is causing seizures.
- Temporal lobectomy is a procedure that can lower the number of seizures a patient has, make them less severe, or even stop them from happening altogether
- Extratemporal lobectomy is an operation that cuts away brain tissue containing a seizure focus.
- Selective Sub-pial Cortisectomy removes a portion of the cortex of the cerebrum
- Selective Amygdalo-Hippocampectomy removes portions of the medial temporal lobe and spares the unaffected portion of the anterior temporal lobe.
- Hemispherectomy partially or completely disconnects half of the brain from the rest of the brain.
- Corpus Callostotomy is a surgery that involves cutting a band of fibers (the corpus callosum) in the brain.
- Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) uses precision laser technology to burn or destroy a lesion that causes epilepsy.
- Responsive neurostimulation prevents drug-resistant focal epileptic seizures by automatically delivering short pulses of electrical stimulation to areas of the brain where the seizures originate.
- Deep brain stimulation delivers electrical impulses to areas of the brain via electrodes to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
- Vagus nerve stimulation sends small pulses of energy to the brain from the vagus nerve, which is a large nerve in the neck. It is most commonly used for people over age 12 whose partial seizures are not controlled by other methods.
Why Choose Hackensack Meridian Health
Our neurosciences care consistently ranks among the Top 50 Adult Neurology & Neurosurgery programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
Our Research and Clinical Trials for Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
Our epilepsy physicians are widely published and regularly present research at national conferences. Our commitment to research allows us to offer some of the most promising new surgical and nonsurgical treatments to our patients years before they become widely available, including multiple studies at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital focused on reducing seizures in children with severe forms of epilepsy.
At Hackensack Meridian Health, specialized services such as epilepsy monitoring aim to help children and adults gain control of seizures.