Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that causes repeated, unpredictable seizures, generally beginning in childhood or early adulthood. Epilepsy can lead to serious complications, including injury to the brain.
Epilepsy means the brain has formed abnormal electrical connections that disrupt normal brain function and cause seizures. It can be caused by an injury or illness that affects the brain, such as a stroke or brain tumor, or its cause can be unknown.
In adults, medication can frequently control epilepsy. However, if seizures persist after trying two drugs, our expert neurosurgeons may offer epilepsy surgery.
Epilepsy seizures usually begin between the ages of five and 20 but may occur at any age. The type and severity of epilepsy symptoms and seizures can indicate what part of the brain is affected by epilepsy.
It is important for anyone who has seizures despite taking medication to be seen by a doctor who specializes in epilepsy treatment, also known as an epileptologist. These doctors are trained in the use of imaging and other studies to diagnosis the causes of epilepsy.
An EEG (electroencephalogram) of the brain shows electrical activity, which can pinpoint the areas of the brain that are not behaving normally in patients with epilepsy. Since electrical activity in the brain may appear normal between epileptic seizures, your doctor may request a video EEG study, which is done during an inpatient visit in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at UPMC Presbyterian.
If you are a candidate for epilepsy surgery, UPMC neurosurgeons will also perform a full complement of diagnostic tests to determine if surgery is appropriate.
Neurosurgeons at UPMC are able to help adult patients with epilepsy lead a normal life and control their seizures through the use of the following epilepsy treatment:
A full complement of advanced diagnostic tests are performed to help patients receive an accurate diagnosis and to determine whether surgical intervention is appropriate.
Usually, epilepsy medications can bring seizures under control. However, in at least one third of people with epilepsy, seizures persist despite trials of numerous drugs.
Epilepsy surgery may be an effective option if:
UPMC neurosurgeons offer diagnostic surgery for detection of difficult to localize seizures, also called intracranial monitoring, and four types of treatment surgery for adults:
» Learn more about adult epilepsy surgery.
» Learn more about adult epilepsy surgery.
Dr. Mark Richardson discusses the benefits of epilepsy surgery for adult patients.
Watch video »
How can we help you?
Schedule anappointment >
Ask a question >
Request our expertopinion >
1-877-986-9862(within the U.S.)
When this college student began was diagnosed with epilepsy, surgery to remove a portion of his brain responsible for the seizures helped get back his life.
Read more »
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by
A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com