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The Comprehensive Epilepsy Program provides intervention and treatment options to stabilize patients and minimize the risk of permanent disability, while enhancing their quality of life.

The center provides state-of-the-art inpatient and outpatient services for the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with epilepsy. Our comprehensive approach features:

  • Outpatient care - The Comprehensive Epilepsy Program has daily epilepsy clinics at the UF Health Jacksonville Neuroscience Institute, the UF Health Neuroscience Institute at JTB Kernan and UF Health Multispecialty Center - St. Marys in Georgia. Staffed by fellowship-trained epileptologists, these clinics allow patients to receive individual care tailored to their specific conditions.
  • Inpatient consultation - Our staff epileptologists are available for inpatient consultation at UF Health Jacksonville, St. Vincent's Medical Center, Baptist Medical Center, Memorial Medical Center, Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital and Camden Medical Center, Georgia.
  • Clinical drug trials - Through clinical drug trials, patients who meet the appropriate criteria are able to receive the latest in epilepsy medication research.
  • Epilepsy surgery - This technique is reserved for those patients with difficult-to-control seizures despite medications. Patients who undergo surgery have a very good chance of successfully controlling seizures. The ability to perform this procedure requires a team of highly skilled professionals. UF Health Jacksonville is proud to be able to offer this sophisticated service.
  • Vagus nerve stimulation - This is another treatment option for patients with difficult-to-control seizures. This involves implanting a "brain pacemaker" at the side of the neck and may be a useful treatment option in a select group of medically refractory patients.
  • Rehabilitation and life management skills vocational therapies - Patients are assessed by the epilepsy program coordinator from a psychological and social standpoint for rehabilitation needs, such as vocational therapy. Patients are trained or rehabilitated for work opportunities based on their functional ability.
  • Education and support groups - A support group and education series on epilepsy is held each month at UF Health Jacksonville. Speakers include physicians, nurses, therapists and other health professionals. The support group for patients and caregivers is open to the public. Periodic courses and symposiums on epilepsy are offered to the public and medical community. The program offers a resource library with brochures, books and videos, and is open to patients and families during regular business hours.

Epilepsy surgery

Surgical treatment of epilepsy is an option available for a significant number of patients, offering up to an 80% chance of becoming seizure-free, while patients taking medication only have a 5% chance of becoming seizure-free.

At the UF Health Neuroscience Institute in Jacksonville, the surgical treatment of epilepsy involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes neurology epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists and other specially trained staff. This highly skilled, experienced team of specialists have been treating epilepsy patients for more than a decade. After a thorough evaluation, patients with epilepsy may be candidates for a variety of procedures depending on their type of epilepsy, all of which are available at UF Health Jacksonville.

The comprehensive evaluation of patients with epilepsy includes three stages:

  • Clinical evaluation
  • Diagnostic invasive evaluation
  • Surgical treatment

Clinical evaluation

Patients undergo a comprehensive clinical evaluation by an experienced epileptologist followed by diagnostic testing such as EEGs, CT scans, MRIs, SPECT, PET scans and video EEG monitoring (where the patient is evaluated as an inpatient for several days to determine the source or focus of the epilepsy in special suites adapted to perform these studies). These studies are complemented with neuropsychological testing that helps determine memory, verbal and cognitive abilities, and how epilepsy has affected the patient.

Diagnostic invasive evaluation

Evaluations include a Wada test, which is performed only in a few centers. This special test is done using angiography, which allows the study of language and memory localization in a particular patient. Once this test is completed, the multidisciplinary team evaluates the results and may decide that long-term seizure monitoring, with electrodes placed in the brain, needs to be performed. This evaluation consists of placing electrodes inside the skull and in the brain to determine where the seizures originate (the seizure focus). Finding the focus of the seizures will ultimately determine the surgical treatment and approach needed in a particular patient.

Surgical treatment

A variety of procedures are available for patients with epilepsy at UF Health Jacksonville, including:

  • Placement of intracranial electrodes that allow identification of the seizure focus
  • Anterior temporal resections, which are especially successful in patients who have a lesion in the temporal lobe called mesial temporal sclerosis
  • Cortical resection for epilepsy
  • Resection of lesions such as tumors or arteriovenous malformations that could be a source of seizures
  • Placement of vagal nerve stimulator, a treatment option for patients with difficult-to-control seizures. This involves implanting a "brain pacemaker" at the side of the neck and may be a useful treatment option in a select group of medically refractory patients.

Post-operative care

At UF Health Jacksonville, patients will be taken care of post-operatively in a specialized Neuro Intensive Care Unit with staff specially trained to care for patients with neurological conditions.