Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can cause seizures that range from mild to debilitating. Living with epilepsy can be difficult, but it is manageable with the right treatment and support.
Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California specializes in multidisciplinary epilepsy care. Designated as a Level IV Epilepsy Center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, the Mercy Epilepsy Center is led by Director Edwin Cruz, MD, a neurologist with special expertise and training in epilepsy. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with epilepsy, call (888) 800-7688 or talk to your doctor about a referral to see one of our experts for advanced epilepsy treatment in Sacramento or a surrounding area.
Common Underlying Causes of Your Epilepsy
A healthy brain functions through millions of tiny electrical charges passing between nerve cells in the brain and to all parts of the body. With epilepsy, this normal pattern may be interrupted by intermittent bursts of intense electrical energy.
Abnormal blood vessels in the brain, a brain tumor, or an infection could be underlying conditions interrupting normal nerve function. If an underlying cause is determined, treatment options could include:
- Surgery to repair blood vessels or remove tumors
- Medications to cure an infection
Sometimes, curing the underlying condition can cause the epilepsy to go away. If this is the case, our experts may recommend ongoing monitoring and follow-up, with no additional treatment required.
Surgery for Epilepsy at Dignity Health
If epilepsy doesn’t respond to medications, surgery may be an alternative solution to frequent and disruptive seizures. Surgery for epilepsy is a well-established procedure with excellent results. The two main surgeries for epilepsy are:
- Implantation of a vagal nerve stimulator (VNS), a device similar in size and function to a heart pacemaker
- Removal of small areas of brain tissue responsible for causing your seizures
When the cause of epilepsy is unknown, or if treating an underlying condition does not stop seizures from occurring, anticonvulsant medication may be used to reduce the severity and frequency of epileptic seizures. There are many available anti-seizure medications, so you and your doctor will work together to find the right one.
A few important things to consider about anticonvulsant medications for epilepsy:
- You may need to have the dosage changed from time to time.
- You may need routine blood testing to check for side effects.
- Women who take anti-seizure medications should discuss their use with a doctor before getting pregnant because some of these medications can cause birth defects.
- Many anti-seizure medications can affect bone health. Talk to your doctor about ways to maintain healthy bones.
Dignity Health Neurological Institute of Northern California provides comprehensive treatment for epilepsy in Sacramento, CA and the surrounding areas.