Bon Secours Richmond Neurology

Epilepsy

Epilepsy, or seizure disorder, affects about 2.5 million Americans and is caused by abnormal electrical impulses in the brain. There are a number of possible causes of epilepsy, including brain tumors, head injuries, stroke, or sodium and sugar imbalances. Sometimes, the cause is unknown. Living with the disorder can be a challenge for patients and their families, especially if seizures are hard to control.

At the Bon Secours Neuroscience Institute, patients of all ages who experience seizures find optimal care and diagnostics in our epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU). Here, doctors can observe and record patients’ brain activity to determine the cause of their seizures and the most appropriate treatment plan.

Innovative Epilepsy Therapies
While medications are effective for most epilepsy patients, surgery may also be an option. Physicians at the Bon Secours Neuroscience Institute stay up to date on the latest treatments to control seizures. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an advanced therapy where a surgeon implants a small pacemaker-like device under the skin in the upper chest and connects it by a thin wire to the vagus cranial nerve in the neck. The device is programmed to electrically stimulate the nerve at regular intervals to control seizure episodes. A patient can also control the device, turning it on to help stop a seizure in progress.

Brain surgery can also help control severe seizures. Our physicians are able to identify the exact location in the brain where seizures originate and may recommend surgery to interrupt the nerve pathways responsible for seizure impulses.