Epilepsy Program

The Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children with epilepsy. All children with epilepsy are unique. Our epileptologists take great care in developing personalized treatment plans for each one of their patients based on his/her specific diagnosis and needs.

Why choose us for your child's epilepsy treatment?

Children's Hospital's neurology and neurosurgery program is ranked among the nation's best, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2015-16 Best Children's Hospitals report. We are committed to providing the best care to your child. Our program offers many advantages:

National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC)

Level 4 Epilepsy Center

The epilepsy program at Children’s Hospital is recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a Level 4 epilepsy center. A Level 4 epilepsy center provides many advantages, including but not limited to:
  • Multiple board-certified, experienced epileptologists and neurosurgeons
  • High volumes of Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) admissions per year
  • Access to advanced neurodiagnostic monitoring, including high resolution MRI, functional MRI, positron emission tomography (PET), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), all used to understand your child’s epilepsy
  • Superior neuropsychology and rehabilitation services
  • Advanced surgical care for epilepsy

Children's has the only Level 4 pediatric epilepsy center in the state of Wisconsin. Our Level 4 designation means we provide the highest level of complex and specialized care for children living with epilepsy. With state-of-the-art facilities and one of the leading surgical pediatric epilepsy programs in the country, we provide comprehensive, cutting-edge treatment for patients with epilepsy. We use a combination of therapies, including diet, medication and surgery, and are well suited for treating the most difficult cases.

Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

Our Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is a state-of-the-art evaluation center, with advanced technology to allow specialists to observe your child and to record brain activity and physical symptoms 24 hours a day over several days. The information our specialists gain allows us to determine the specific type of seizure, frequency, and origin, and to define the treatment that best suits your child.

Dedication to research and innovation

Our neurologists and neurosurgeons are dedicated to advancing epilepsy diagnosis and treatment options through ongoing clinical research efforts. Neurosciences research is conducted in collaboration with the Neuroscience Research Center at The Medical College of Wisconsin. New techniques for diagnosis and treatment are included in our patient care as they become available. Learn more about our recent research and clinical trials.

Comprehensive, multidisciplinary care

Our neurosciences program isn't only made up of neurologists and neurosurgeons. The program also incorporates specialists in many related subspecialty areas, including but not limited to: physical medicine and rehabilitation, neuropsychology, neuropathology, neuroradiology, and genetics. The depth and breadth of complex neurological knowledge and experience makes our program truly comprehensive.

Diagnosing your child's epilepsy

Evaluation of your child's epilepsy often requires admitting your child to the hospital for video EEG monitoring in our Pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU). This noninvasive procedure translates your child's electrical brain activity into a digital format for analysis. A digital video recording is taken at the same time, allowing our specialists to observe and analyze a continuous record of your child's seizures. The diagnostic evaluation is tailored to the individual patient and often includes a variety of advanced imaging, a neurospsychological evaluation, and genetic testing. All of the information gathered about your child during this evaluation is used to properly diagnose the type of seizures your child has and to develop an optimal treatment plan.

Treating your child's epilepsy

At Children's Hospital, our specialists create an individualized treatment plan to match your child's needs. Dependent upon what kind of seizure your child experiences and the severity, we will recommend a variety of therapies. Most children that receive treatment are able to live normal, active lives with only a few simple modifications.

The treatment of epilepsy has changed dramatically in recent years. Many forms of epilepsy can be treated successfully using increasingly effective antiepileptic medications. Other cases are successfully treated through dietary modifications. The ketogenic diet is a special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has been shown to help control seizures in many children with epilepsy. Often children are able to take less medication by making some relatively simple changes to their diets. If this diet is recommended for your child, a dietician knowledgeable about the ketogenic diet will help to carefully monitor your child's diet plan and response.

Sometimes diet and medication are not enough to control your child's seizures. In these cases, epilepsy surgery may be the best option. The Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Children's is one of the leading epilepsy surgery programs in the country, performing over 40 epilepsy surgeries a year. Learn more about our surgical treatment options.