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Comprehensive Epilepsy Program

Cook Children's Comprehensive Epilepsy Program is one of the leading and most advanced pediatric epilepsy programs in the country.

The program coordinates the skills of highly specialized epileptologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, nurse specialists, EEG technologists, nutritionists, nurse educators, social workers and Child Life specialists, to create a team who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of children with epilepsy.

Our program sees more than 13,000 infants and children with seizures each year. We perform more than 6,000 EEGs and more than 100 epilepsy surgeries annually, making the Cook Children's Comprehensive Epilepsy Program one of the busiest pediatric epilepsy centers in the nation. And with the arrival of our MEG, the newest generation of advanced imaging technology is now available to even our youngest generation of patients.

Using both medical and surgical treatments, the program offers some of the highest level of services to patients with epilepsy.

Cook Children's recognized as a Level 4 epilepsy center. The National Association of Epilepsy Centers recognizes Cook Children's Comprehensive Epilepsy Program as a Level 4 Pediatric Epilepsy Center. Level 4 epilepsy centers have the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.

Why choose our epilepsy program?

We provide some of the nation's most advanced, kid-friendly care by having:

  • A family-centered approach to diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy, reviewing all risks and benefits of care prior to making a final treatment decision.
  • Specialists who work together in the exam and operating rooms.
  • Experienced epileptologists who identify the seizure type and create a unique treatment plan for each patient.

Medical treatment options

  • Standard anticonvulsant medications
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Investigational medications

Surgical treatment options

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU)

Our state-of-the-art Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) is an important component of the comprehensive evaluation and integrated care of patients with epilepsy and recurrent unprovoked spells. More than 800 children have been admitted to our 10-bed unit, designed with children in mind and capable of performing wireless electroencephalograms (EEGs) that allow the children to continue their normal activities while in the unit.

The EMU is part of the medical center's Neurophysiology program, and performs:

  • EEGs
  • EEGs (Spanish)
  • Video EEGs (VEEG)
  • Electrocorticography
  • Cortical mapping and cortical stimulation procedures
  • Inpatient, outpatient and intraoperative testing
    • Brain stem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP)
    • Visual evoked potentials (VEP)
    • Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP)
    • Motor evoked potentials (MEP)
    • Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS)

Our Epilepsy Program also has sophisticated neuroimaging capabilities including:

  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) using specialized epilepsy protocols
  • Magnetic Resonance-Spectroscopy (MR-Spectroscopy)
  • Functional MRI (fMRI) is different than MRI in that it allows doctors to see brain activity when a child is functions such as language or problem solving
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) that can map white matter tracts
  • Inter-ictal and ictal Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) scan
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan
  • Intracarotid Amobarbital Procedure (IAP), also known as the Wada test(Spanish version)
  • Intraoperative MRI
    • Cook Children's is one of a handful of children's hospitals in the country with this technology
    • Provides the surgeon with accurate digital images of changing brain anatomy during surgery
    • Allows accurate mapping of critical brain regions
    • Helps our physicians remove tumors, seizure foci and other lesions
    • Reduces the need for repeated epilepsy surgeries

Advanced technologies mean innovative care

Cook Children's offers some of the most advanced, kid-friendly care in the nation. With leading-edge imaging and diagnostic capabilities, our specialists are able to better treat patients and help them get back to doing what they do best: being kids.

Neurodiagnostics

The Neurodiagnostic Center at Cook Children's offers the most innovative and advanced technologies to diagnose, evaluate, and treat the conditions that affect a child's brain and development. At Cook Children's, you'll have access to leading-edge resources, brilliant doctors, and a team of highly skilled medical professionals who specialize in pediatric neurology. All with one purpose in mind: to help your child have the best quality of care possible.

iMRI

The iMRI suite is a special operating room developed for brain surgery. It combines innovative surgical and imaging tools in one place. Surgeons can take high-quality MRIs during surgery to see the area of the brain they are operating on, the size and shape of tumors, and the difference between healthy and unhealthy tissue. And because surgeons have the ability to see and remove the entire tumor during one surgery, these tools make surgery more precise, reducing risk and the need for a second surgery. Learn more.

MEG

The latest development in magnetic imaging technology, the MEG makes finding and diagnosing a brain condition much easier for our doctors. Billions of neurons fire off trillions of electric signals, making the brain a very busy place. The MEG maps all of that activity so that doctors can pinpoint with incredible accuracy where in the brain the seizure is occurring and what removing tissue from that area may affect, like speech. This helps to determine the best course of treatment for each patient. Learn more.

EMU

Designed especially for patients with difficult to diagnose and control seizures, our advanced Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) offers the latest in high-tech evaluation tools. State-of-the-art wireless technology lets our team of highly trained EEG technologists record a child's brain activity while they do kid activities: visiting with other patients on the unit or in the play area, playing games, doing crafts, and sleeping. All in a safe environment surrounded by a specialized care team. Learn more.

3D modeling

3D modeling offers a unique dimension in the diagnosis and treatment of brain conditions. Advanced techniques create an actual 3D image of your child's brain. The neuro team then uses this image to map the location of tumors, epileptic seizures, and other neurologic conditions. This is especially useful in pinpointing a surgical area and determining the best course of treatment for your child. Learn more.

Our care team

The physicians and surgeons who provide this care are also involved in clinical research to discover new treatments for pediatric epilepsy. Cook Children's neuroscience investigators are enrolling patients into multiple clinical trials of medications and medical devices, and the list continues to grow. Our neuroscientists' clinical research has helped develop treatments for many children with epilepsy who had no hope of living seizure-free.

Our team approach

The epilepsy team meets weekly to review individual epilepsy cases. At these meetings, epileptologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists and neuroradiologists review patient histories, physicals, neuroimaging, and neurodiagnostic tests. The team considers underlying diagnoses and the effectiveness and side effects of current management, as well as treatment options and controversies, before making a decision on the best epilepsy care. Careful consideration is given to neuropsychological, speech and psychiatric evaluations. Ultimately, the team makes their decision, and the attending physician, the patient, and his or her family are consulted in order to make the final medical or surgical treatment decision.

Designations

What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy surgery
Genetic epilepsy
Epilepsy monitoring unit

We're here to help.

If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-885-2500.