Yale New Haven Hospital is internationally recognized as a leader in innovative treatment for medically intractable and new onset epilepsy. In addition to clinical excellence and innovative research, the Epilepsy Program at Yale New Haven was one of the nation's first and has evolved into one of the most active and advanced programs in the world.
Our Epilepsy Treatment Program
With a Level 4 rating – the highest rating by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers – patients and families benefit from a model of care that integrates the expertise of the program’s clinical staff and advanced technology for diagnosis, seizure classification and treatment. Our epilepsy care team is composed of adult and pediatric neurosurgeons, epileptologists, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, social workers, dietitians, nurses, technologists, bioengineers and neuropathologists.
At Yale New Haven, our team of dedicated experts offers a multidisciplinary approach to care that integrates the expertise of colleagues in neurosurgery and diagnostic imaging to deliver leading-edge evaluation, diagnosis, and patient care to individuals with varying forms and degrees of seizure and epilepsy. Our Program provides intensive audiovisual and electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring for diagnosis and localization of the affected area, to tailor care for each patient. Patients receive comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services, and a full range of medical and surgical treatment options, including investigative therapies and approaches that are not widely available.
Patients who require inpatient treatment receive care on a specialized neurological unit with staff specifically trained in neurosurgical and neurological care. Six beds are specifically used for video EEG.
Adult and pediatric epilepsy monitoring is performed in dedicated units to pinpoint the focus of seizures. A six-bed adult and two-bed pediatric monitoring units feature state-of-the art, all digital video-EEG monitoring equipment, and are fully staffed 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week. Patients undergo a four-phase evaluation process to determine if surgery is appropriate:
- In-patient monitoring to determine the frequency and severity of seizures and to verify the seizure type and site of onset in the brain as well as imaging tests including MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography) and PET (positron emission tomography) scans to locate the exact source of the seizures
- WADA (intracarotid sodium amytal testing) and functional MRI to identify which critical areas of the brain are close to the source of the seizures
- Neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive functioning
- Evaluation and classification of seizures to determine the next step in treatment
The Epilepsy Program at Yale New Haven has been instrumental in developing many of what are now widely practiced surgical procedures for epilepsy including the medial temporal lobe resection, corpus collosotomy and intraoperative or extraoperative mapping of the primary functions of the cortex. Collectively, our specialty team brings more experience than almost any other program in the world to the patients treated at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Patients are supported by caregivers during each step of the process, so that a very stressful experience can have the very best outcome both medically and emotionally.
The outcomes of epilepsy surgery are very encouraging with the vast majority of patients experiencing either no recurrence of seizures or a greatly reduced number of less severe seizures.
Our state-of-the-art operating room suite contains advanced digitized imaging, computerized stereotaxy and sophisticated electrophysiology in order to perform optimal, yet safe, resections, and to place intracranial electrodes for those patients who need invasive electrophysiological confirmation of an epileptogenic region.
The Epilepsy Surgery Program staff works closely with referring physicians throughout the course of a patient's evaluation and treatment to maximize continuity of care, particularly in the postoperative period.