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Pediatric neurology

Our pediatric neurology team diagnoses and treats a range of injuries and disorders affecting the brain and nervous system including one of the most common; seizure disorders or epilepsy. We offer a complete specialty treatment approach — from diet to surgery — to effectively manage your child’s symptoms.

Our team includes a number of different specialists focused on neurological care. In addition to skill and compassion, they use the latest technologies to assess your child’s brain function.

These technologies help us to prescribe the best treatment options.

For children who prove to have intractable epilepsy our team offers a full range of surgical procedures, including implantation of intracranial electrodes, mapping procedures and temporal and extratemporal resections.

Why choose Geisinger for pediatric neurological care?

  • Highly-specialized epilepsy care: Our pediatric neurologists have specialty training in diagnosing and treating children with epilepsy and seizure disorders. Our center has a Level IV designation from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. The designation represents the highest level of care and ensures:
    • Access to highly trained epileptologists, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists and neurosurgeons.
    • Comprehensive treatment options, including medications, implanted devices, dietary therapy such as ketogenic (high fat, low carb) diets and a broad range of surgical procedures.
    • The latest technologies for diagnosing and monitoring seizure disorders.
  • Developmental intervention: Our team is focused on diagnosis and treating developmental problems:
    • Diagnosis of developmental problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is essential for keeping children on track. With medication and therapy, children with ADHD can be more productive at home and in the classroom. We collaborate with Geisinger’s Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute to diagnosis and treat a full range of developmental disorders.
    • Our neurologists also assess and diagnosis other development disorders including cerebral palsy, movement disorders, tic disorders and gait abnormalities.
    • Our pediatric neurologists treat children suffering from sleep disorders in our child-friendly sleep lab. Sleep studies can pinpoint how to improve your child’s sleep, which can affect health and development.
  • Innovative technologies: Properly diagnosing neurological conditions is critical to identifying the right therapies. Geisinger offers the latest diagnostic tools and tests, including:
    • Electroencephalogram (EEG): This test measures the electrical activity in the brain’s outer layer to aid in the diagnosis of seizure disorders (epilepsy). We offer EEGs at several Geisinger locations throughout the region, so you don’t have to travel far for care.
    • Long-term monitoring (LTM): Video-linked EEG recordings continuously collects information over a period of time while your child is awake and asleep. LTM captures a video recording of events of concern and then evaluates what’s been recorded in the context of the brain’s electrical activity. This analysis can help with decisions about diagnosis and treatment options including epilepsy surgery.
    • Electromyography (EMG): This technique helps us study electrical activity in muscles and nerves and is often combined with nerve conduction studies. With these tests, we can evaluate a wide range of muscle and nerve conditions and identify the best therapy.
    • Neuro Imaging: With a staff of highly-trained neuroradiologists.

What is a pediatric neurologist?

Pediatric neurology is a specialty that provides care for infants and children for conditions involving the brain, spinal cord, muscles and nerves. Our team relies on the latest treatment options and technologies so your child gets advanced care, close to where they live.

Your child’s pediatric neurology team

From common to complex neurological conditions, our team works together to develop a treatment plan to help your child heal and thrive. Your child will have an entire pediatric neurology team behind them, which consists of:

  • Pediatric neurologists, specialists who help diagnose and treat children with conditions related to their nervous system.
  • Advanced practice providers, including physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses.
  • Pediatric neurosurgeon, a neurosurgeon who holds advanced training in the care of children. Learn more about pediatric neurosurgery.
  • Neuro-ophthalmology, specialists trained in analyzing and treating the visual symptoms of brain disease. 
  • Psychology and Behavioral Health Services team, to help your child work through their emotional experiences.  Learn more about psychology and behavioral health.
  • Nurses, who will assist with your child’s care while they are in for check-ups and appointments.
  • Nutritionists, who will partner with you and your child to create a nutrition plan to help manage and improve their symptoms.Learn more about pediatric nutrition.
  • Case management nurses, who are trained to answer any questions you may have during your child’s care.
  • Pediatric specialty pharmacists, who are specially trained in administering medications that treat children’s disorders and symptoms.
  • Genetics specialists, who can analyze your child’s genes to determine if their symptoms are caused by genetic factors.Learn about MyCode.
  • Sleep medicine specialists, who are trained in diagnosing and treating children’s sleep disorders.

Pediatric neurological conditions and treatments

Our child-focused specialists are among the best and most experienced in the region at treating complex neurologic disorders.

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Encephalopathy
  • Developmental disorders
  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • Ketogenic diets
  • Long-term video monitoring (LTM) – routine to invasive surgical
  • Medication
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Muscular dystrophy/spinal muscular atrophy
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Responsive nerve stimulator
  • Sleep disorders
  • Tic disorders
  • Vagus nerve stimulator

Diagnosing neurological conditions in children

Our neurology team is experienced in diagnosing brain, spinal cord, muscle and nerve conditions affecting children. 

Some of the diagnostic tests your doctor may perform to test for neurological conditions include:
  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan: CT scans use X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of the brain.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): A device that uses electrodes (small metal disks) which are placed on your child’s head to continuously read and record brain wave activity. A video is recorded during this test, which is used to evaluate your child for seizure or risk of having seizures.
  • Long term video EEG monitoring: A continual video recording, day and night, is taken in a controlled environment during your child's EEG and used to help determine if your child is having epileptic seizures.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRIs use safe, powerful radio waves and magnets to create detailed, 2D images of the brain.
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) scan: MRAs use powerful radio waves and magnets to scan the arteries that go to and through your child’s brain.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: A PET scan takes pictures of changes in the brain that MRT and CT scans are unable to show. Rather than showing the brain's structure, a PET scan shows a picture of the brain’s activity and how areas of the brain work to metabolize nutrients in comparison to each other. Between 30 minutes and one hour before this test, your child will receive a shot that contains a small (and safe) amount of radioactive molecules. This shot enables a PET scan to take pictures to help form a diagnosis.
  • Electromyogram (EMG)/nerve condition study (NCS): In an electromyogram, small needles record nerve and muscle activity to diagnose weakness in your child’s arms or legs. A nerve condition study is often done in combination with an EMG and evaluates your child's electrical condition abilities and the health of the nerve being tested.
  • Cerebral spinal fluid analysis: Also called a spinal tap or lumbar puncture, this allows your child's doctor to remove fluid from the spine to help make a diagnosis.
  • Evoked potentials (EP): This test uses electrodes (small metal disks) to measure the electrical responses produced by your child’s brain when they respond to stimuli including sight and sound.
  • Polysomnography: Also called a sleep study, this test records your child’s brain waves, eye movement, oxygen levels, breathing, heart rate and leg movements while they sleep. This test helps with diagnosing sleep disorders.
  • Genetic testing: Sending your child's blood samples for analysis can help determine whether they have a genetic-based disorder or disease.

Treating pediatric neurological conditions in PA

Medications

Medications, which can help your child manage their symptoms.
Dietary therapy

Dietary therapy such as ketogenic (high-fat, low-carb) diets.
Surgery

Surgery, such as epilepsy surgery, vagal nerve stimulator or responsive neurostimulation.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, a common form of talk therapy that helps a person understand how they can improve their health and wellbeing.
Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, a treatment that involves the use of medicines to help a person's immune system heal. In some cases, intravenous immunoglobulin treatment (IVIg), plasmapheresis and rituximab may be suggested.
Gene therapy

Gene therapy, for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Pediatric neurology care at Geisinger

We want to help your child reach their full potential and live their best life. With compassionate care tailored to your child’s needs, our team will partner with you and your child for life-long care. We offer:
  • Comprehensive Epilepsy Program – Children diagnosed with epilepsy and seizure disorders have the opportunity to work with a team of epilepsy specialists, also called epileptologists. With a Level IV designation from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, our center offers the highest level of care for your child. We’ll partner with you to create a personalized care plan for your child, which may include medication management, ketogenic diet, genetics evaluation and or recommendations for surgical evaluation or neuromodulation.
  • Specialized headache care – For children up to age 18 who have headaches or migraines, we provide a comprehensive, evidence-based approach through a combination of medicine and lifestyle changes. Your child will also have access to services to manage their symptoms through include diet, physical therapy and behavioral health.
  • Advanced neuromuscular care – Those diagnosed with neuromuscular disease have the opportunity to work with our experienced multidisciplinary care team, a multi-physician team that comes together to create a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our neuromuscular care team consists of neurologists, sleep medicine specialists, pulmonologists, orthopaedic specialists, physical therapists and cardiologists. As a state-recognized spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) referral center, we provide extensive care to children, including disease-modifying treatments.
  • Pediatric Sleep Center – Our specialty team works together to diagnose and treat children’s sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome. Your child’s care starts with a comprehensive evaluation, which may include a sleep study in our child-friendly sleep lab, actigraphy (a watch-like device that tracks them while sleeping and awake) or behavioral intervention. Depending on your child's diagnosis, we’ll develop a full treatment plan to help them return to getting a full night’s sleep.
  • Genetic testing and counseling programs – Specials research programs such as MyCode® are only available at Geisinger. Participating in MyCode allows you to contribute to genetic research. By participating, some may receive information about their own genetic risks. Learn more or sign up for MyCode.