Epilepsy

Delray Medical Center provides comprehensive patient care and technology for adults suffering from seizures and epilepsy. The personalized evaluation process includes the assessment of patient’s medical history and medication intake, imaging of the brain and neurodiagnostic exams. With this in-depth evaluation, the team is able to create individualized treatment plans.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is brain disorder that can cause temporary confusion, staring spells, uncontrollable jerking motions of the arms and legs, and unconsciousness.

About half of epilepsy cases occur for no known reason. However, it can be caused by genetic factors, head trauma, certain medical disorders like a stroke, dementia, prenatal injury, and developmental disorders such as autism or Down syndrome.

Types of Seizures:

  • Focal or partial seizures originate in one part of the brain. Simple focal seizures do not cause loss of consciousness, but may affect sensory perceptions and result in involuntary jerking of part of the body.
  • Complex focal seizures change consciousness or awareness, and may result in non-purposeful movements, such as walking in circles or staring.
  • Generalized seizures appear to involve the whole brain, including:
    • Absence seizures, also called petit mal, which cause subtle body movements and brief loss of awareness
    • Tonic seizures that result in muscles stiffening
    • Clonic seizures associated with recurring, twitching muscle contractions
    • Myoclonic seizures that appear as sudden, jerking movements in the arms and legs
    • Atonic seizures that cause loss of normal muscle tone
    • Tonic-clonic seizures, also called grand mal, which are intense episodes of body stiffening, shaking, loss of consciousness, and occasional loss of bladder control or tongue biting

Diagnosing Epilepsy

In order to best treat a patient who has experienced two or more seizures, it is important to identify the cause. Through an in-depth diagnostic process, the team at Delray Medical Center can order an appropriate treatment plan for epileptic patients.

Medical History

At Delray Medical Center, our procedure begins with a thorough medical history that includes:

  • Age of onset
  • Risk factors
  • Description of seizures
  • Duration
  • Triggers

Physical Exam

The physician will complete a comprehensive neurological examination.

Testing

Diagnosing epilepsy may include brain imaging, blood work, and electroencephalogram (EEG). EEG’s are conducted by putting electrodes on the patient’s scalp to record brain wave activity. We conduct EEG-video monitoring tests, which are considered the gold standard in epileptic diagnostics. These tests are effective because they allow our Neurologists to simultaneously examine brain wave activity and clinical findings.

Depending on seizure frequency, patients may be required to stay in the hospital for several nights. Our team may use various measures to study a patient’s reaction to certain stimuli. Other imaging tests that may be used are Computerized tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans that help our team determine if there are any lesions in the brain that may be causing the seizures.

Treating Epilepsy

Once a diagnosis is made, our team will put together a  treatment plan to help prevent further seizures and provide patients a better quality of life.

Treatment options may include the following:

Medication: When epilepsy is diagnosed, patients are put on anti-seizure medication. Our team works to find the most effective medication with the fewest side effects for each individual patient.

Surgery: If seizure medication is not effective, surgery may be an option. Our team will determine if the affected area(s) of the brain may be treated surgically. This may include the use of implantable devices that will help with seizure control.