Christopher Topel, DONeurology Vascular Neurology
Izabela Tarasiewicz, MDNeurosurgery Pediatric Neurosurgery
Sudha Seshadri, MDNeurology
Every year, University Health epilepsy specialists help thousands of children and adults with epilepsy gain control of seizures and reclaim a better quality of life.
Our multidisciplinary team of epilepsy experts understands the impact epilepsy has on your life and the people you love. It’s why they’re dedicated to using their expertise and the most advanced treatment to help you, not your seizures, take control of your life.
The South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (STCEC) is the region’s only center with a Level IV rating—the highest rating possible—from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. That means we have the expertise and facilities to provide the highest level of evaluation and treatment, even for the most difficult-to-control seizures.
Treatment Options to Control Seizures
An accurate diagnosis is the first step to controlling seizures. To determine the most effective treatment to control your seizures, our specialists use the latest technology and diagnostic procedures to pinpoint the type of seizure you’re having, where it’s located and the cause.
For 70% of people with epilepsy, medication is the solution to controlling seizures. If medication isn’t effective, we offer the most advanced medical and surgical therapies to control seizures. Our team of specialists—neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists and psychiatrists—has the expertise, innovative tools, advanced technology and compassion to improve your quality of life.
Temporal lobectomy is the most common surgery performed for epilepsy. During this procedure, our neurosurgeon removes part of the temporal lobe (the front part of the brain used for memory, speech, emotion and visual senses) where seizures begin.
Lobectomies are effective in significantly reducing, if not eliminating seizures, and people who have them are able to lead normal lives.
Corpus callosotomy is a surgical procedure that cuts the corpus callosum, a band of tissue that transmits messages from one side of the brain to another. The procedure may not eliminate seizures completely, but it prevents a seizure from spreading from one side of the brain to the other. It also may stop drop attacks, a type of seizure that causes muscles to go limp and often results in a fall and injury.
Grid and strip placement help determine what part of the brain seizures are coming from. Grids are sheets or strips of electrodes embedded in a thin, flexible sheet of polyurethane that are implanted directly on a specific area of the brain to monitor brain activity and seizures. Grids are used to monitor a more precise area of the brain. Strips are used to monitor a larger area of the brain.
After the electrodes are in place, you’ll stay in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) where brain and seizure activity will be monitored to determine where the seizures occur and what functions they impact. That information is used for a second surgery to remove the grids and the area of the brain causing the seizures.
Hemispherectomy is a surgical procedure to eliminate seizures by removing one side of the brain. It’s usually performed on young patients who have severe seizures coming from only one side of the brain, or older patients who suffered a large brain injury during childhood.
After surgery, the remaining side of the brain can take over the functions from the part of the brain that is removed.
If medication isn’t effective in controlling your seizures and surgery isn’t an option, implanting a vagal nerve stimulator is another treatment available. The device, like a pacemaker, is implanted under the skin on your chest and a wire runs from it to the vagus nerve in your neck. The stimulator sends regular, mild electrical impulses to your brain.