Patient being tested in the epilepsy clinic.

Antiseizure Medication and Epilepsy Surgery

Epilepsy is a lifelong disease, but with specialized care from MUSC Health, you have better chances of maintaining seizure control. Our center is the only level 4 epilepsy center in South Carolina, meaning we offer all forms of care for epilepsy.

Our team helps many people reduce or eliminate seizure activity with medications. You’ll also have access to options, including surgery, for epilepsy that does not respond to standard treatments. 

Epilepsy Treatment at MUSC Health: Why Choose Us?

MUSC Health is among the nation’s premier epilepsy centers. We offer complete care, including medications and surgery when necessary. This inclusive approach gives you more options for seizure control.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Expertise: Our team includes epileptologists. These are neurologists (doctors specializing in the brain) who have advanced (fellowship) training in epilepsy. MUSC Health is also home to neurosurgeons who perform a high volume of epilepsy procedures. This level of skill enables us to treat the most complex forms of epilepsy. Meet our comprehensive epilepsy center team.
  • Appropriate care: Our active role in research means we follow the latest care methods. You can be confident that you’ll receive the treatments that are best for your needs. We do comprehensive testing, including inpatient epilepsy monitoring, to deliver precise, individualized care. Learn more about epilepsy testing and inpatient monitoring.
  • Options for difficult-to-treat epilepsy: We offer hope for epilepsy that does not respond to medications. We are the only program in South Carolina offering epilepsy surgery, and we help many patients achieve excellent results.

Personalized Epilepsy Treatment

Our team of epileptologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, psychologists and other specialists meets regularly to coordinate care for complex cases. We review test results and consider all care options before making treatment recommendations.

All patients at MUSC Health receive personalized care. Even if your diagnosis is uncomplicated, we take time to get to know you so we can tailor therapies to meet your needs.

We develop a lasting relationship with you to help you get the most out of treatment. And if you live far away, we coordinate with your local care team so you can receive some therapies close to home. We use telemedicine (video appointments) to better personalize your care.

Nonsurgical Epilepsy Treatments Available at MUSC Health

Your personalized care plan may include:

  • Antiseizure medications: Medications can help control the intensity and frequency of seizures. We recommend antiseizure medicines that are right for your diagnosis. And we tailor doses to help you achieve the best possible results.
  • Ketogenic diet: This high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet reduces seizure activity in some people, including children. Registered dietitians help you learn which foods to eat. They can give recommendations that make it easier to maintain this diet.
  • Nutrition support: Registered dietitians specializing in neurological disorders recommend foods to optimize your well-being and lower your risk of seizures.
  • Other therapies: Occupational therapists help you find ways to cope with issues like sensitivity to light and noise. Speech therapists help you push past difficulty speaking. You may need this therapy if seizures occur in the area of the brain that controls language.

Epilepsy Surgery for Difficult-To-Treat Seizure Disorders

If you’ve tried two or more antiseizure medications without success, we may recommend epilepsy surgery. As South Carolina’s only level 4 epilepsy center, we are the only center in the state to offer epilepsy surgery. Find out more about our comprehensive epilepsy center.

We offer the latest options, including:

  • Resective surgery: We carefully resect (remove) or destroy the section of brain tissue causing seizure activity (seizure focus). Options include traditional open surgery or a procedure that uses laser technology and smaller incisions.

  • Laser-Induced Thermoablation
    Our doctors were the first in South Carolina to use this minimally invasive surgical treatment. During this procedure:
    • Your doctor makes a small keyhole incision in your skull.
    • Using advanced imaging technology, your doctor inserts a thin laser probe through the incision and guides it to the seizure focus of the brain.
    • The laser generates light and heat that destroys the seizure focus.
    • This procedure has less risk of infection and complications, as well as a faster recovery time, then traditional open skull brain surgery.
  • Neurostimulator devices: Surgeons implant insulated wires (leads) into the seizure focus. Leads connect to an implantable device that delivers gentle electrical signals to prevent or stop seizure activity.

  • 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:
    • Your doctor implants the VNS device underneath the skin on the left side of your chest.
    • Tiny wires, or leads, connect the device to the vagus nerve in your neck.
    • The VNS device sends electrical pulses through the leads to your vagus nerve and brain. These pulses disrupt seizure activity.
  • Responsive Neurostimulations (RNS)
    MUSC Health was the first medical center in the state to introduce the RNS™ System. During this procedure:
    • Your doctor places tiny wires, called leads, into the seizure source.
    • The leads connect to a neurostimulator device hidden under your scalp.
    • When the device detects unusual brain activity, it sends electrical pulses through the leads to disrupt the seizure, often before it starts.

Epilepsy Support

Epilepsy can affect your ability to live independently and your emotional and financial well-being. But at MUSC Health, you don’t have to navigate these challenges alone.

We make your life a little easier during epilepsy treatment with help from:

  • Social workers who arrange transportation to care appointments and connect you with helpful community resources
  • Financial counselors who provide information about financial assistance programs and bill-paying options
  • Support groups where you can share experiences with other people going through similar challenges