At the Pediatric Epilepsy Center, we treat the most complex forms of epilepsy using a full spectrum of the latest treatments. Our doctors specialize in treating drug-resistant epilepsy, seizures that don’t respond to medication.
At St. Louis Children’s Hospital, you have access to the most innovative epilepsy treatments, including dietary therapies, neurostimulation procedures and surgery. Treatment offers some children significant or complete relief from seizures. Our family-focused approach means you’ll never feel alone throughout your child’s care.
Epilepsy Treatment Options for Children
The goal of epilepsy treatment is to stop, control or decrease how many seizures your child has, without interfering with their normal growth and development. Our team will perform a comprehensive evaluation to learn as much as possible about your child’s health before recommending a treatment plan.
The treatment your child’s doctor recommends will depend on the type of seizure, where a seizure starts and your child’s overall health. Your child’s doctor may recommend one or more treatments, including medication, dietary therapy or surgery.
Medication effectively treats many types of epilepsy. Your doctor will make medication recommendations based on the specifics of your child’s condition and needs. Our doctors will take all the latest medication advances, including clinical trials, into account when they develop your child’s care plan.
Our team will closely follow your child to monitor the effectiveness of the medication(s). If a medication doesn’t work for your child, we may adapt the dosage or recommend other medications or therapies. We won’t stop until we find the therapy (or combination of therapies) that works best for your child.
Learn more about medical epilepsy treatments.
Ketogenic diet for epilepsy
The ketogenic diet is a dietary therapy that is high in fat, low in carbohydrates and has adequate protein. It is very strict. This diet has helped reduce or eliminate epilepsy symptoms in some children. Your doctor may recommend the ketogenic diet or another dietary therapy if your child’s seizures are not controlled with medication.
Following a ketogenic diet requires a significant commitment. Our dietitian offers a wealth of information and support to families as they embark on this lifestyle change.
At St. Louis Children’s Hospital Pediatric Epilepsy Center, we have specialized expertise in treating epilepsy with dietary therapies. Learn more about our Ketogenic Diet Clinic for Epilepsy.
Neurostimulation is another advanced therapy that has potential to stop or lessen seizures in drug-resistant epilepsy (when medications don’t help). A surgeon implants a device that provides small, targeted pulses of energy to the brain or vagus nerve.
Our doctors have extensive experience treating pediatric epilepsy using two types of neurostimulation:
- Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS): A surgeon places a small battery-operated device into the chest wall. This device connects to wires placed under the skin that provide pulses of energy to the vagus nerve (in the neck). Learn more about vagus nerve stimulation.
- Responsive neurostimulation (RNS): This type of neurostimulation uses a sophisticated system (called NeuroPace RNS®) to stop or reduce seizure symptoms at their source. A surgeon places electrodes connected to an implantable device inside the skull. The device monitors and records your child’s brainwaves, all day and night. Doctors use that information to train the device to detect and stop seizures from happening. Learn more about responsive neurostimulation (RNS).
When other epilepsy treatments aren’t effective, surgery offers children with certain types of epilepsy new hope for an improved quality of life. Our physician team has decades of experience performing intricate epilepsy surgeries using open (traditional) and less invasive techniques. We’re among the first in the nation to treat epilepsy using a laser probe and advanced imaging to permanently destroy (ablate) brain tissue that causes seizures. Learn more about epilepsy surgery.
Your care team will consider many factors when deciding whether your child could benefit from epilepsy surgery. We understand the weight of this decision. Our process ensures we provide ample education and support to families throughout your child’s care. Learn more about our team’s approach to surgery in our guide to the patient journey.