Treatments for Epilepsy

Comprehensive Epilepsy Treatment Options in Louisville

With the highest designation as a Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Norton Neuroscience Institute is the epilepsy treatment destination for Louisville and Southern Indiana. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained epilepsy specialists are at the leading edge of seizure treatment.

Treatments for epilepsy can include lifestyle and dietary changes, medication and surgery. Your custom epilepsy treatment plan will be based on several factors, including:

  • Your health history
  • Severity of symptoms
  • The type of epilepsy you have
  • Your age
  • Whether you plan on having a baby

It is important to get treatment for epilepsy as soon as you are diagnosed. Let untreated, your seizures can get worse or happen more often over time. Many people with epilepsy can live seizure-free with treatment. 

Comprehensive Epilepsy Care

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has designated Norton Neuroscience Institute as a Level 4 Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. We received the highest-level accreditation because of our providers’ experience and expertise with complex diagnostic tools and ability to perform a broad range of epilepsy surgeries.

Your multidisciplinary team includes the full range of medical professionals. They bring all their expertise to the table so you will have a 360-degree care plan tailored just to you. Our team includes specialists from:

  • Epileptology – trained doctors who specialize in treating epilepsy
  • Epilepsy neurology (noo-RAH-luh-jee) – doctors who focus on how the brain works and disorders of the brain
  • Epilepsy neurosurgery – surgeons who are trained to operate on the brain
  • Psychology – doctors who specialize in epilepsy neuropsychology who help manage your mental health
  • Epilepsy advanced practice providers – nurses who have training in epilepsy care and monitoring
  • Resource professionals – who can help with day-to-day coping with epilepsy, education and other supports for you and your family

Diagnosing Epilepsy

There are several different types of epilepsy, and everyone experiences epilepsy differently.

This disorder includes seizures and related symptoms that cause changes in awareness, muscle tone, emotions, behavior and sensory experience.

Epilepsy treatment starts with a careful assessment of your seizures. This might include:

  • Medical and seizure history and neurological examination
  • Neuroimaging: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), positron emission tomography (PET), functional MRI (fMRI)
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG), including outpatient video-EEG monitoring and long-term video-EEG monitoring
  • Wada testing
  • Neuropsychological, speech and hearing evaluations
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Emotional and practical support resources for you and your caregivers

In some cases, you might need more in-depth monitoring and testing for your epilepsy. The Norton Neuroscience Institute’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit helps your care team correctly diagnose your condition and begin treatment, including planning for surgery if needed.

Medication and Surgery for Epilepsy

Most people with epilepsy can become seizure-free by taking one anti-seizure medicine, which is also called anti-epileptic medicine. Others may be able to decrease the frequency and intensity of their seizures by taking a combination of medicines. It can be complex to find the right medication, or the right combination, in the right dosages. You may need to try a few different medications in different combinations before you find the treatment plan that works best for you.

For many people, medication is enough to control seizures.

About one-third of people with epilepsy are medication-resistant, meaning medication isn’t enough to control seizures or the side effects are too severe.  Epilepsy surgery may be an option for you if at least two different medications fail to control your seizures, or the side effects of the medications are life-altering.

Before recommending surgery, we will perform extensive testing including video monitoring at the Norton Brownsboro Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. The clinical team will review results with you to determine whether we can identify the source of your seizures and whether we can operate without damaging key areas of the brain.

Epilepsy surgery options to control seizures include:

Resection of Seizure Focus

Using brain mapping both before surgery (preoperative) and during surgery (intraoperative), the surgeon will pinpoint and  remove the specific area of the brain that is causing seizures. This is the most common type of epilepsy surgery, and patients are often seizure-free after this procedure.

Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery Means Tiny Incisions and Quicker Recovery

Advances in minimally invasive surgery at Norton Neuroscience Institute mean patients have the opportunity to get precision surgery with fewer side effects The tiny incision required means less discomfort, less risk of postoperative infection and a faster recovery.

ROSA Robotic System

Our neurosurgeons use ROSA — a robotic technology that makes it possible to perform minimally invasive surgery — to map the safest route through the brain. . ROSA generates a three-dimensional map of your brain, so surgeons can see structures at any angle and any depth to address the source of your epilepsy.

With the image in hand, surgeons use ROSA’s robotic arm to thread tiny tools through holes the width of spaghetti noodles to the source of your seizures.

Laser Ablation

Our neurosurgeons also treat epilepsy seizures using heat energy. . They can use a real-time MRI to guide a tiny laser fiber through a  to the source of your seizures, precisely targeting abnormal brain tissue. The real-time MRI displays thermal maps support impressive accuracy in destroying the problem tissue while preserving healthy tissue.

NeuroPace RNS System

NeuroPace is the first and only device that continuously monitors and responds to brain activity. After surgical placement, NeuroPace detects electrical patterns in the brain that could lead to a seizure. Then, the NeuroPace device delivers pulses of stimulation to stop seizures before you are aware. Typically you won’t even feel this neuromodulation happening. NeuroPace is recommended when evaluation for surgery shows that removing the source of your seizures has a risk of causing major problems with speaking, understanding or other abilities.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

The vagus (VAY-gus) nerve is part of your autonomic (ah-toh-NAH-muhk) nervous system. This part of your nervous system controls the things your body does without you thinking about it, such as breathing, digesting food and sweating. The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic (peh-ruh-sim-pah-THET-ick) nervous system, which calms your body after you’ve been in a stressful situation.

A vagus nerve stimulator is a small battery-powered device that is implanted under the skin near the collarbone. It produces weak electrical signals that travel along the vagus nerve to the brain at regular intervals. These signals help prevent the electrical bursts in the brain that cause seizures. Patients can send an extra signal from the vagus nerve stimulator if they feel a seizure coming on.

Vagus nerve stimulation is used when doctors can’t find the area of the brain causing the seizures.

Norton Neuroscience Institute offers a variety of treatments for epilepsy, including anti-seizure medications, epilepsy surgeries and devices to stop the seizures. Our goal is to manage your epilepsy and its symptoms. In some cases, epilepsy is a life-long disease. In others, seizures might stop with proper treatment. At Norton Neuroscience Institute we can create a customized care plan with the specialist epilepsy care, resources and treatment options that are right for your needs.

Care That’s Focused on You

It’s part of Norton Neuroscience Institute’s goal to care for the whole person, not just the condition.

  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers offer ways to improve your access to care, provide valuable information on managing your disease and address your quality of life issues. The Norton Healthcare Foundation funds this important service, so patients don’t need to pay.
  • Dedicated patient navigators can help schedule follow-up appointments, coordinate prescription assistance, create customized diet plans and provide guidance on disability benefits, housing, financial and employment concerns and more.
  • Patients can access support groups, exercise classes and other educational events to connect with others and learn how to make the most of life while managing a neurological condition. 
  • Access an on-demand video library of educational content across a variety of condition-related topics is available.
  • We want to help prevent illness. Get help quitting smoking and learn the signs of stroke.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free Norton MyChart account.

A Louisville Leader in Neurological Care

More patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana seek their neurology and neurosurgery care from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized specialists than any other providers in the area.

Your Norton Neuroscience Institute medical provider has the expertise, experience, diagnostic tools and sophisticated treatments to provide care tailored to your needs.

  • More than 75 medical, surgical and research specialists are dedicated to providing innovative care to those with brain, spine and nervous system conditions.
  • Advanced, minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment can speed your recovery and minimize pain.
  • Multidisciplinary clinics provide easy access to care in one convenient appointment for your neurological condition, with specialists in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and behavioral health.
  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals in Louisville are certified by DNV, recognizing excellence and expertise in stroke care.
    • Norton Brownsboro Hospital is recognized as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
    • Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital are Primary Stroke Centers.
    • Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital is an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute is at the forefront of neuroscientific research. As investigators on numerous trials, our physicians contribute to groundbreaking studies and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Also, patients may be eligible to take part in these experimental treatments.
    Learn more about current neuroscience clinical trials and studies.
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  • The American Heart Association Get With the Guidelines stroke care program has recognized all four of Norton Healthcare’s adult service-hospitals in Louisville for exceeding national averages in getting patients in the door and administering lifesaving treatment to restore blood flow to the brain.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute’s multiple sclerosis (MS) program has been designated a Center for Comprehensive MS Care by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  • The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has recognized Norton Neuroscience Institute as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, providing the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center navigators help educate patients and their families about new diagnoses, available treatments and ways to manage their disease.
  • We are listed by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 100 great neurosurgery and spine programs.

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