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Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder. The seizures are unprovoked, meaning medical conditions such as low blood sugar do not cause them. Seizures may cause behavioral changes, convulsions or loss of consciousness. Some brain injuries cause epilepsy, but in most cases, we don’t know the cause.

It’s important to get treatment for epilepsy because seizures can affect every aspect of someone’s life. The first line of treatment for epilepsy is medication. If the medications do not stop the seizures, we offer epilepsy surgery.  


What you should know about epilepsy

  • People of all ages can have epilepsy and can experience their first seizure as a child or sometime during adulthood. We usually diagnose epilepsy if: 
    • A person has had one or more seizures not caused by a reversible condition like an infection or diabetes 
    • The seizures appear likely to continue  
  • More people live with epilepsy than with multiple sclerosis, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease combined. 


Why choose Geisinger for the care of epilepsy?  

  • Distinguished, comprehensive care: The National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) accredits Geisinger as a Level IV Epilepsy Center. This is the highest level of epileptic patient care available. Our specialized center offers: 
    • Sophisticated neurodiagnostic monitoring 
    • Medical and psychological treatment 
    • Epilepsy surgery 
    • Dietary treatment 
  • Advanced technology: Our epilepsy specialists use some of the latest technology available to diagnose and treat epilepsy, including: 
    • EEG (electroencephalography), a non-invasive test that records your brain’s electrical activity. 
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), a technology that allows us to take pictures of your brain. We use 3 Tesla MRI technology. Tesla (T) refers to the magnetic field, and 3 is double the previous standard of 1.5. This machine gives us extremely detailed images of the brain, which helps us learn more about your epilepsy. 
    • Epilepsy monitoring units (EMUs), a safe, monitored space that allows us to study your seizures and determine where they are originating. For your convenience, we have EMUs at three different Geisinger locations.  
    • Neuromodulation, a small, implanted device that works like a pacemaker to disrupt the signals that are causing seizures. 
  • Epilepsy surgery: For patients whose epilepsy is not controlled by medications (known as drug-resistant or intractable epilepsy), we may recommend surgery. The complications from epilepsy surgery are very low. Intractable epilepsy occurs because the chances of a different medication working declines as each new medicine fails to control seizures.

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