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Epilepsy Treatment

 

People who have epilepsy experience frequent seizures. Epilepsy is a debilitating condition that can greatly impact a person's quality of life.

At The University of Kansas Health System, our epilepsy experts offer innovative treatments for epilepsy that can be found only at the best centers in the country, and nowhere else in the region. Our epilepsy treatment program is 1 of only 2 in the Kansas City area to be designated a Level 4 Epilepsy Center – the utmost standard for epilepsy care. We provide the highest level of medical and surgical treatment options for people with complex epilepsy.

What is epilepsy treatment?

Epilepsy is a serious health condition that includes involuntary seizures. Treatment for epilepsy is aimed at reducing the total number of seizures as well as limiting their impact and severity. There are many possible treatments for epilepsy, ranging from lifestyle modifications to medications and even surgery. Most people see the greatest benefit from a combination of different epilepsy treatments.

At The University of Kansas Health System, we offer the latest treatment options for people with epilepsy. This includes innovative therapies and surgical techniques to speed healing and reduce downtime.

We offer a variety of appointment types. Learn more or call 913-588-1227 to schedule now.

Who can have epilepsy treatment?

Nearly anyone with epilepsy requires and can benefit from at least 1 type of epilepsy treatment. Depending on your symptoms, including the severity and duration of seizures, the treatment that works best for you will be customized to your individual needs.

How does epilepsy treatment work?

The way epilepsy treatments work varies depending on which treatment option your doctor recommends:

  • Antiseizure medications work to lower the frequency and intensity of seizures, and are typically the first approach to treating epilepsy.

  • Deep brain stimulation delivers electrical pulses to a specific part of the brain in an effort to stop seizures.

  • Lifestyle modifications, such as following a ketogenic diet, may help reduce seizures.

  • Minimally invasive robotic epilepsy surgery can be performed to remove the brain tissue responsible for causing seizures while minimizing the downtime associated with traditional open surgery.

  • MRI-guided laser ablation combines the precision of lasers with the imaging capabilities of intraoperative MRI imaging to precisely treat affected brain tissue.

It’s common to try 1 epilepsy treatment and wait to see how symptoms respond before trying different treatment options. In many cases, treatments can be combined for better results.

The epilepsy team talks about treatment options, and a patient and his mother discuss how they found hope in the progressive treatments offered at The University of Kansas Health System.

Eva Florido: My son Frank was diagnosed at the age of 18, although he did have his first seizure at 14. His challenge was really accepting his condition and realizing that he would have to depend on other individuals for his rides to work and other things.

Frank Hernandez: Being diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 18 brought a lot of limitations to a little bit more simple things in life as far as school, sleeping, driving, work even. As far as my education, it was definitely something that I had to go ahead and continuously cut short because I was spending more time in the doctor's office as opposed to class.

Eva Florido: As a mother, I just felt very distressed that they had not come up with any medication that would help calm his seizures. I actually heard a commercial about this technique that they were doing, the surgery, and once I heard the commercial, it really gave me hope, and that's where I was introduced to Dr. Ulloa.

Carol Ulloa, MD: So I'm very proud about our Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. I think that we're really passionate about treating patients with epilepsy and really giving them the best care possible. Our focus is epilepsy, and I think that really adds a certain degree of expertise.

Patrick Landazuri, MD: The first thing I think about is that so many patients don't really know what their diagnosis is. What they're often told is that they have a seizure disorder, which I think in some ways is akin to telling someone with a heart attack that they have chest pain. I mean, there are lots of reasons why people can have chest pain, and I think it's important for people to know why.

Dr. Landazuri: Similarly, there are lots of reasons why people can have seizures, and I think it's important for people to understand the cause of their seizures, and that's really their specific epilepsy diagnosis. I think when we're able to do that, we're able to offer them more specific treatments, things like surgery, which most often people have never heard of, and are very highly effective treatments.

Dr. Landazuri: By the time we see these patients, they've been on 7, 8, 9 medications, when the research pretty clearly indicates that after that third medicine, they have a less than 1% chance of being seizure-free.

Nancy Hammond, MD: I think there are several barriers that patients with epilepsy face when they're trying to get the best care. The first barrier is getting the correct diagnosis, so a lot of times people have strange things that happen to them and they're not entirely sure what's going on with them.

Caleb Pearson, PsyD: I think oftentimes when people think of epilepsy, they think of seizures, when actually there's a number of comorbidities that are seen with epilepsy, things like depression, anxiety. These are things that are often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed with people.

Dr. Ulloa: Living with epilepsy, living with having seizures affects your life, the lack of the ability to drive, sometimes the lack of being able to hold a job.

Frank Hernandez: I felt a lot more comforted because of a lot of the more progressive information that came from Dr. Ulloa.

Dr. Ulloa: If I could tell patients with epilepsy 1 thing, it would be that it's not OK for them to continue to have seizures. It's such a simple premise, but I think a lot of people really don't know that and don't understand that.

Dr. Hammond: There's always new treatments coming out, there's new medications coming out, and so if you have epilepsy and you're continuing to have seizures, you need to ask your doctor, "Is there something more I can do?" Because this is not OK. It's not OK to live with seizures.

Dr. Ulloa: So with that knowledge, then they will want to seek more information, and I feel like that's my primary job is to give patients as much information about their condition as I can.

Dr. Ulloa: Schedule your appointment with our comprehensive epilepsy team today by calling 913-588-1227.

Benefits and risks of epilepsy treatment

Left untreated, epilepsy can severely impact your quality of life. Research suggests that repeated epilepsy seizures can cause injury to the brain tissue without appropriate treatment. Although each option for epilepsy treatment does carry some degree of risk, your doctor will not recommend any treatment unless he or she feels the benefits of treatment will outweigh those risks.

What happens during epilepsy treatment?

The specifics of your epilepsy treatment will vary depending on which treatments you receive. In all cases, treatment for epilepsy requires close monitoring by a medical team to measure seizure activity and ensure that your symptoms are improving. Your doctor will also track potential side effects from any antiseizure medications, and may recommend a different approach to treating your epilepsy if the side effects become too severe.

Why choose us for epilepsy treatment

  • Our epileptologists in Kansas City work with other specialists whose expertise benefits people with epilepsy. This collaboration can make a crucial difference in your care.
  • Our Level 4 Epilepsy Center, accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, is the only one of its kind in the state of Kansas. We earn and retain this meaningful designation – held by only about 100 epilepsy programs in the country – by delivering proven, best-practice care and offering medical, neuropsychological and psychosocial care for people with drug-resistant epilepsy.
  • We are one of the region's approved NeuroPace implantation sites. The NeuroPace device senses a seizure and stops it before the patient is aware the seizure has even started.
  • We offer specialized care for women with epilepsy who are or wish to become pregnant.
  • We provide innovative treatment options that are found only at the best epilepsy centers in the country and nowhere else in the region, offering the highest possible level of care.
  • We use NeuroBlate technology to treat seizures. NeuroBlate is a minimally invasive laser procedure that allows neurosurgeons to precisely treat seizure locations within millimeters.