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Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

At the MUSC Health Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, our doctors work to eliminate or reduce seizures to help you live life to the fullest.

MUSC Health is the only level 4 epilepsy center in South Carolina. This top-level designation from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers recognizes our doctors’ extensive knowledge and comprehensive treatment of patients with seizure disorders. Here you will receive the highest level of care.

Epilepsy Care at MUSC Health: Why Choose Us?

When you come to MUSC Health for epilepsy care and treatment, you benefit from:

  • Depth of experience: Our specialists have devoted their careers to the management of epilepsy. Your team of experts includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurophysiologists, speech, occupational and physical therapists, social workers and psychiatrists. Meet our team.
  • Advanced diagnostic tools: MUSC Health is the only level 4 epilepsy center in the country with a complete suite of accredited diagnostic labs. Find out more about advanced brain mapping.
  • Single-photo emission computed tomography (SPECT). During this epilepsy test, your doctor injects a low-level radioactive substance into your arm at the start of a seizure. Using computed tomography (CT scan), your doctor can track the radioactive material to determine blood flow in and out of the seizure focus.
  • Customized treatment plan: Because our team has access to a broad scope of diagnostic tools and treatments, we develop treatment plans specific to your unique health needs. We understand that having epilepsy goes beyond living with seizures. We work to improve your quality of life.
  • Convenience: Your nurse coordinator will work with you to schedule appointments to save you time and travel.
  • The latest treatment options: Our team actively participates in clinical trials aimed at identifying causes of seizures and finding better treatments. Our doctors work closely with experts at the Pediatric Epilepsy and Behavioral Medicine Lab and the Leo Bonhila Neuroscience Laboratory.
  • Concierge services: If needed, our guest services staff can assist with travel, lodging and other needs.
 

Advanced Brain Mapping

Brain mapping allows our doctors to precisely locate areas of the brain where seizures originate (known as the seizure focus). Our Comprehensive Epilepsy Center features the most advanced brain mapping technology.

When possible, our doctors use minimally invasive methods to diagnose seizure areas. There is no need to remove a piece of the skull or expose the brain. For you, this means less risk of infection and complications and relatively little recovery time.

Advanced diagnostic brain mapping options at MUSC Health include: 

  • Stereoelectroencephalogram (SEEG): Your doctor uses 3-D imaging technology to identify seizure focus areas and place electrode sensors on the scalp to monitor for seizures. MUSC Health is one of a select few medical centers nationwide with SEEG capabilities.
  • High-density electroencephalogram (HD-EEG): MUSC Health is the only center in the southeast with this advanced technology. During this noninvasive procedure, your doctor places more than 100 electrode sensors on your scalp. The high number of sensors (5 times the amount of a regular EEG) more accurately pinpoints the seizure focus.

Learn more about positron emission tomography (PET) scans and other tests performed in our neurophysiology lab.

Treating Seizures

Treatment options at MUSC Health include:

 

Medications

Anti-seizure or anti-epileptic medications are usually the first treatment step. Medication can decrease the intensity and frequency of seizures or eliminate them altogether. Your doctor will work with you to develop an appropriate medication plan.

 

Ketogenic diet

This high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet may reduce seizure activity. If your doctor recommends a ketogenic diet, you will work with a registered dietitian at MUSC Health who has special expertise in neurological disorders. A dietitian can help create a diet plan tailored for your specific tastes and needs. Find out more about keto-control diet therapies for epilepsy.

 

Surgery

Depending on the location of the seizure focus, your doctor may choose to surgically remove that section of your brain. If the seizure focus is in a section that controls vital functions such as language, speech, vision, hearing or motor skills, your doctor may look at additional treatment options.

 

Laser-induced thermoablation

Our doctors were the first in South Carolina to use this minimally invasive surgical treatment. During this procedure:

  1. Your doctor makes a small keyhole incision in your skull.
  2. Using advanced imaging technology, your doctor inserts a thin laser probe through the incision and guides it to the seizure focus of the brain.
  3. The laser generates light and heat that destroys the seizure focus.
  4. This procedure has less risk of infection and complications, as well as a faster recovery time, then traditional open skull brain surgery.
 

Responsive neurostimulations (RNS)

MUSC Health was the first medical center in the state to introduce the RNS™ System. During this procedure:

  1. Your doctor places tiny wires, called leads, into the seizure source.
  2. The leads connect to a neurostimulator device hidden under your scalp.
  3. When the device detects unusual brain activity, it sends electrical pulses through the leads to disrupt the seizure, often before it starts.
vagus

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)

Your doctor may recommend vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) if your seizures have not responded well to other treatment. During this procedure:

  1. Your doctor implants the VNS device underneath the skin on the left side of your chest.
  2. Tiny wires, or leads, connect the device to the vagus nerve in your neck.
  3. The VNS device sends electrical pulses through the leads to your vagus nerve and brain. These pulses disrupt seizure activity.

Dedicated Epilepsy Services

Our doctors use the latest technology to provide expert care. Features of our Comprehensive Epilepsy Center include:  

 

Epilepsy monitoring unit

Our specialized seven-bed epilepsy monitoring unit offers the latest digital monitoring and video capabilities. This technology captures seizure activity in a fraction of the time required in most standard monitoring units. Our doctors can quickly and efficiently provide a diagnosis.

Learn more about:

 

Epilepsy clinics

Our seizure experts see patients on the main campus of MUSC Health in Charleston, as well as at our regional clinic locations in East Cooper, West Ashley and North Charleston.

 

Patient resources

Check out our epilepsy handbook and epilepsy patient resources to learn more about a range of topics, including tips for living with seizures.

 

Statewide seizure care

Our tele-EEG program enables doctors from across South Carolina to tap the expertise of MUSC Health seizure experts. With our team’s special expertise, community hospitals can provide faster seizure diagnosis and treatment.

Contact Us

To learn more about the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at MUSC Health or to schedule an appointment, please call 843-792-3223.

Refer a Patient

Submit an online appointment referral form or call our 24-hour referring physician service, MEDULINE, at 800-922-5250

 

Our Team

The MUSC Health Comprehensive Epilepsy Center brings together epilepsy doctors, specialists and treatment in Charleston, SC. Our care team members have devoted their careers to the management of epilepsy. Patient care is supported by a wide variety of specialists from the fields of neurology, neurosurgery, neurophysiology, nursing, radiology, psychiatry, speech and language pathology, social work and research.

Additional Care Team Members 

Neurology:
Julie DesMarteau, RD, MPAS, PA-C
Elizabeth Koontz, NP-C

Neurosurgery:
Abbie Ensor, RN, MSN
Jennifer Marshall, PA-C

Neurophysiology Lab
Allison Jones, CNIM | Neurophysiology Lab Director

Neuropsychology:
Mark T. Wagner, Ph.D.

Speech Language Pathology:
Kikki Thayer, MS, CCC-SLP

Social Work:
Sherrell Thomas-Nelson, MSW

Research Faculty:
Ambesaw W. Selassie, MPH, DrPh
Kenton Holden, M.D.  
Gigi Smith, Ph.D., APRN, CPNP-PC  
Janelle Wagner, Ph.D.

Nursing:
Paula Kersey, RN, BSN
Kelly Kornegay, RN
Amy Shore, RN, BSN

Epilepsy Patient Coordinator:
Lane Stallworth, BS

 

Research

Cutting-edge work includes grant-funded studies, collaborative partnerships and industry-sponsored clinical trials, all aimed at finding causes and cures. From a triple-phase assessment process with leading-edge technology to breakthrough medical and surgical treatments, the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is poised to deliver improved outcomes for patients, physicians and families experiencing epilepsy.

Epilepsy specific research currently in progress includes:

 

 

 

Scheduling

To make an Epilepsy appointment, please call 843-792-3223.

Refer a Patient

Call our 24-hour referring physician service, MEDULINE, at 800-922-5250