Epilepsy Treated at Tampa General Hospital
Epilepsy, one of the most common disorders of the nervous system, affects people of all ages and backgrounds and makes them susceptible to recurrent, unprovoked seizures. These episodes are caused by interruptions in the normal electrical signals between the nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Depending on the location and severity of the disruption, epilepsy symptoms can range from impacting only a single muscle group, such as the arms or legs, to a loss of consciousness and tremors throughout the body.
Tampa General Hospital’s Epilepsy Program is accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a Level 4 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. Our program was also the first in the nation to receive disease-specific certification from The Joint Commission. This not only means that we provide the highest possible level of medical and surgical services for patients with seizure disorders, but also that we have met exceptionally high standards of care. We utilize advanced diagnostic tools, such as 24-hour video EEG monitoring, which allows us to determine the type of seizure a patient is suffering from, as well as the location of the brain it originates in.
Using this information, our team of neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists, and other specialists can develop a treatment plan tailored to each patient’s unique condition. One highly effective treatment offered at TGH is epilepsy surgery. The procedure, which involves removing the part of the brain that is responsible for causing seizures, is performed at Tampa General Hospital more than 50 times per year. This procedure cures epilepsy in about 80 percent of patients and results in significant condition improvements for another 10 percent.
Tampa General Hospital is also the first to use laser ablation for minimally invasive neurosurgery in the Tampa Bay Area. This procedure uses light energy to destroy the portion of the brain where seizures originate and leaves the surrounding healthy tissue unharmed. Some of the advantages of this technique for patients with epilepsy include:
- It can be repeated as necessary because it does not involve the use of radiation
- It causes little to no pain during and after the procedure
- There is reduced recovery time and less potential for complications
- The entry site heals quickly and with minimal scarring
- Typically, only one night’s stay at the hospital is required
Tampa General Hospital also provides vagus nerve stimulation for patients with epilepsy who aren’t candidates for surgery. This procedures involves implanting a device that will send mild pulses of electrical energy through the vagus nerve at regular intervals to control the symptoms of epilepsy.