Epilepsy & Seizure Care
You’re using your GPS to navigate to an unfamiliar area, when it begins spitting out route directions in random order and in different languages. Suddenly, nothing makes sense. You’re lost and confused. Maybe even frightened. In a way, this is how it feels to live with epilepsy.
Normally, your brain cells communicate non-stop with your body by sending electrical signals in an orderly sequence. But if you suffer from epilepsy, these electrical signals can become jumbled and disorganized.
When this happens, you might suffer from a seizure – violent, uncontrolled shaking, brief stares or muscle spasms. Epilepsy seizures can impact your work, your social life, even your ability to drive.
Aurora neurologists can help you navigate your epilepsy by controlling your seizures and medical side effects. More than four out of every five people we treat have at least a 90 percent seizure reduction.
Specialized Seizure Care
Seizures are traumatic and scary. They interrupt not just your life, but your sense of security. The worst part is not knowing when they will next strike.
Aurora Health Care’s epilepsy care experts help patients towards leading normal lives free from seizures and medical side effects. Our team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, pharmacologists, neuropsychologists and counselors are dedicated to returning you to a normal life.
In addition, our Regional Epilepsy Center, located at the Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center is one of only a few comprehensive epilepsy programs in the Midwest. The Center provides specialized epilepsy care that is available to patients from any Aurora facility or affiliated physician. Patients can also contact the Regional Epilepsy Center themselves.
To learn more about Aurora’s epilepsy care and Aurora’s Regional Epilepsy Center, call 414-385-8780, or contact us online for an appointment.
Three Ways to Treat Seizures from Epilepsy
Your physician will review your past medical records and imaging, such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We’ll meet with you and your family members to discuss your history of medications, treatments and the frequency of your seizures.
Working together, we’ll create a personalized treatment plan that may include:
- Medications – the first line of treatment for epilepsy. More than 20 different anti-seizure medications are available, and we’ll find one that works best for you (and monitor any possible side effects of the drug). You may also benefit from new anticonvulsant drugs as part of a clinical trial. Aurora is currently participating in a study of nearly all Food and Drug Administration-approved anti-seizure medications.
- Vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) - a non-drug treatment that acts like a “pacemaker in the brain.” Your doctor implants a small device under the skin and wraps electrodes around your vagus nerve – a nerve that helps control heart beat, muscle movement, digestion and breathing. Throughout the day, the device sends an electrical shock to the nerve to help control or stop seizures.
- Epilepsy surgery (temporal lobectomy) – a safe, effective surgical option for people whose seizures arise from the temporal lobe of the brain. Diagnostic tests can reveal if your temporal lobe – located on either side of your head, just above the ears – is responsible for your seizures. Most people (70 to 90 percent) who undergo this kind of surgery are cured of their epilepsy.
If your epilepsy medication doesn’t work, your neurologist will take a closer look at what’s triggering your seizures. This might include 24-hour video monitoring accompanied by tests, such as electroencephalogram (EEG), to measure brainwave activity.
Your doctor may also decrease your medications under close supervision of your Aurora medical team. When a seizure occurs, video captures what happens neurologically in your brain and the EEG helps identify the point of origin within the brain. Both provide vital information to guide your doctor to the best treatment approach.
Seizures can stop you in your tracks and leave you feeling lost. We want to get you back on the road to living the life you want to live.
Contact us for more information, about getting a second opinion or to schedule an appointment with an Aurora Health Care neurologist.