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Neurological Conditions

Epilepsy | Headache | Movement Disorders | Multiple Sclerosis

Neuromuscular Disorder Program | Sleep Disorder Program | Stroke | Child Neurology

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a relatively common disorder. Between one and 1.5% of the U.S. population suffers from epilepsy. The good news is that epilepsy has made remarkable strides in both diagnosis and treatment. At the University of South Carolina’s Neurology Department, we have Epilepsy specialists who can help you take control of epilepsy. Our team of physicians consists of adult epileptologists and neurophysiologists. They have received special training for treating epilepsy and have devoted a significant portion of their careers to treating the difficult epilepsy population. In addition, our team has many resources available for comprehensive epilepsy management and care.

The first step in management of epilepsy is the correct diagnosis. At times, patients with narcolepsy, anxiety disorders or cardiac problems can be misdiagnosed as having epilepsy. Epileptologists perform a detailed history on every patient followed by neurological examination to establish both the type and cause of epilepsy.

A complete diagnosis of epilepsy is always supplemented by further testing that may include:

  • Neuroimaging: MRI of the brain is performed using special techniques, such as flair imaging, gradient echo and MR spectroscopy. This state-of-the-art technology helps to bring out subtle abnormalities in the brain structure that can provide us with clues for causes of epilepsy.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): EEG is a brain wave test that is an extremely important tool in determining the correct type of epilepsy. EEG is performed using state-of-the-art digital computerized equipment. In addition to a routine EEG, we have the capability to perform continuous video EEG monitoring.

Based on information obtained from clinical evaluation, imaging and EEG testing, the best treatment option is discussed with the patient and treatment is monitored closely.

In the recent past, several medications have become available for treating epilepsy. In the Neurology Department, treatment options include anti-epileptic medications (including participation in clinical drug trials) and referral of appropriate patients for surgical treatment (including the vagal nerve stimulator) and epilepsy surgery. Childhood epilepsies are managed by our pediatric Neurology colleagues in the Department of Pediatrics.