Overview

Ready to help you gain control of your seizures

Our team is experienced in treating all aspects of epilepsy, and we provide a wide range of services, including surgery and special dietary therapies. The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has named us a level 4 epilepsy center — the highest level there is.

We know that epilepsy can cause physical, emotional and social challenges. We work with you to address them. 

Symptoms and diagnosis

The right treatment begins with the right diagnosis

We use the latest technology to make the right diagnosis. Knowing exactly what we’re dealing with is crucial for planning next steps. You may first see this technology in our epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) and during neuroimaging tests.

Technology helps us make the right diagnosis

Epilepsy can affect various parts of your brain. Our EMU helps us track seizures as they happen and determine where in your brain they begin. This helps us decide which treatments are likely to be right for you.

You may spend up to nine days in our monitoring unit. There are some restrictions but you’re free to move around and go about your daily life in the unit. But with the help of an electroencephalogram (EEG), we monitor the electrical activity in your brain. This test involves placing electrodes on your scalp and is painless.

Advanced neuroimaging tests can also help us see what is happening in your brain.

  • MRI — Creates images of your brain using a magnetic field and radio waves. The test helps spot problems with the brain’s structure that could cause seizures.

  • PET — Helps show where in the brain seizures occur. The test involves injecting a small amount of radioactive dye into your body. Then we do a special scan.

  • Functional MRI — Measures changes in blood flow in certain areas of your brain. This helps doctors know which areas control functions like movement and speech, something that’s crucial when planning surgery.

Treatments and research

The goal of treatment: improved quality of life

Epilepsy is a complex condition. When you have it, decisions about treatment can be confusing. We work with you to evaluate potential treatments and determine what’s best for you. When we can, we recommend the simplest, least invasive option first. If necessary, we turn to other options, including surgery. Our goal is to find the treatment that will control your seizures and help you feel and function well.

Medication

A number of medicines may help control seizures. We’ll work with you to find the ones that are best for you.

Surgery

Because we can pinpoint where your seizures begin in your brain, we can focus surgical treatment. Our careful pre-surgery testing allows us to protect key brain functions.

Surgeries we offer include:

This is our most common surgery. It involves removing part, or all, of your temporal lobe.

Involves removing tissue from lobes of the brain other than your temporal lobe.

Involves disconnecting one hemisphere of the brain from the rest of the organ. It’s reserved for those with severe epilepsy whose seizures come from one side of the brain.

This is a minimally invasive surgery. It involves using a small fiber optic probe to deliver heat to the part of your brain causing your seizures. It’s done with MRI guidance.

Removes lesions on your brain causing your seizures. An MRI identifies the lesions.

Makes shallow cuts in your cerebral cortex.

Neurostimulation

DBS may be an option if medication isn’t working for you and other types of surgery aren’t the right treatment for your particular case . It involves placing electrodes in specific areas of your brain. Electrical signals from the electrodes will interfere with the brain signals causing your seizures.

More about deep brain stimulation

This treatment involves implanting a device somewhat like a pacemaker under your skin. It stimulates the nerve that helps your brain communicate with your major organs. This may help reduce the number of seizures you have.

RNS is a surgical treatment for epilepsy that does not require any brain tissue to be removed. Using an implanted device, seizures are detected with a goal of stopping them before they progress. The device monitors your brain waves through attached leads and when unusual activity is detected, an electric pulse is sent to that area of the brain to help prevent or shorten a seizure.

Dietary therapy

Certain diets may help lessen the number of seizures you have. Our Adult Neurology Ketogenic Dietary Therapy Clinic can help teach you about these diets and how to change your eating habits.

Learn more about dietary therapy for epilepsy treatment

These diets are low in carbohydrates and high in fats. They’ve been shown to lower the number of seizures some people have.

This is the ketogenic diet used most often for adults. It limits net carbohydrates to 20 grams per day. It encourages fats such as olive oil, avocados, butter, heavy cream, nuts, and seeds.

Girl and mother holding a plate of food.

It was a miracle, and I just wish I would have tried it sooner.

Mother of Brandi Gonzales
How the modified Atkins diet changed her daughter’s life

Clinical trials

There are many good ways to treat epilepsy, but we’re always looking for more. When you come to us, you have access to clinical trials. This means you may get new drugs and treatments before they’re widely available elsewhere.

Meet our team

Expertise to meet all your needs

A team of specialists will take part in your care. Each has their own expertise. Some team members focus on your diagnosis. Others offer unique therapies and advanced procedures to treat epilepsy. They combine their knowledge and skill to care for you in body and mind.

Our providers

Patient and support services

Understanding your needs helps us serve you better

Everyone can use a hand when it comes to managing epilepsy. At some points in your life you may need more help than at others. We’re here to make things easier for you. We offer tools and resources to help you take control of your epilepsy.

Epilepsy Transitions Clinic

The Epilepsy Transitions Clinic helps patients who are approaching adulthood transition from their pediatric to adult care teams. Depending on abilities, we will help create a plan to transition to independence for adults who are able to manage their healthcare. Patients with different abilities will also transition to adult care teams. Our comprehensive approach helps to ensure that needs are met for every patient and caregiver/guardian through a team of epilepsy physicians, nurses, clinical pharmacists and social workers.

Women’s Epilepsy Clinic

Menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can all affect a woman’s epilepsy. Our Women's Epilepsy Clinic helps with the challenges women with epilepsy face throughout their lives.

Adult Epilepsy Dietary Therapy Clinic

Our dietary therapy clinic may be able to help you better control your seizures by changing how you eat. Specially trained neurologist Elizabeth Felton will oversee your care along with a ketogenic dietitian. Ask your doctor if a referral to the clinic is right for you.

More resources

Locations

Here, you get care not offered everywhere

We are the only Level 4 epilepsy center in Madison and one of only two Level 4 centers for adults in Wisconsin. When your doctor refers you to us, you get the most advanced testing and treatment that exists. It’s care that few other places offer.

  • University Hospital - Epilepsy Clinic (Neurology)
    • 600 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-5442
    • Closed now
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  • University Hospital - Epilepsy Clinic (Neurosurgery)
    • 600 Highland Ave. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 263-7502
    • Closed now
    •  
      View hours, services and more