Department of  Neurosurgery
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Pediatric Neurosurgery
Epilepsy

Washington University/St. Louis Children’s Hospital has one of the largest and most advanced pediatric epilepsy surgery centers in the nation, and has performed more than 500 epilepsy surgery procedures over the past 10 years.

Our pediatric neurosurgeons have a long, rich history in advancing the surgical management of epilepsy. Pioneering Washington University neurosurgeons such as Sidney Goldring, MD, developed many of the diagnostic and therapeutic surgical approaches that are still used today.

In one of the longest follow-up studies on the impact of epilepsy surgery on seizure control, our researchers have found that the beneficial effects of epilepsy surgery are sustained over decades, resulting in improved quality of life for patients. Link to Study


Conditions & Treatments

Approximately 4,000 children with epilepsy are currently treated at Washington University/St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Our epilepsy team-based approach ensures that each patient is considered carefully and those with seizures who do not respond to anticonvulsant medication undergo a complete evaluation to assess the potential benefit of surgery.

Our neurosurgeons use advanced techniques and offer the full range of surgeries to treat epilepsy, including

A new technique offered as an alternative to surgical removal of tissue is laser ablation. During laser ablation procedures, a small probe is placed into the part of the brain to be treated. During real-time MRI scanning, the laser is used to treat a region of the brain by  heating it while closely monitoring temperature. Highly selected patients with epilepsy may be candidates for laser ablation of a seizure zone.

Faculty

Neurosurgery Providers

Epilepsy Neurology

  • Mary Bertrand, MD
  • Rohini Coorg, MD
  • Edwin Dodson, MD
  • Christina Gurnett, MD
  • Robin Ryther, MD
  • Liu Lin Thio, MD
  • Michael Wong, MD, PhD
  • Kelvin Yamada, MD
  • John Zempel, MD
  • Tracy K. Connell, RN, MSN, CPNP
  • Ellen Albers, APRN, MSN, PCNS

Neurophysiology:

  • Michael Morrissey, PhD

Neuropsychology:

  • Lisa Harker, PsyD

Conferences

The multidisciplinary Pediatric Epilepsy Team meets weekly to review each patient’s case in detail. Epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, neuropsychologists, neurophysiologists, EEG technicians and nursing staff analyze each patient’s EEG-video, MRI and other diagnostic tests to determine the best treatment for each individual.

Highlights

The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is a nationally certified Center of Excellence.

We have a dedicated inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit, the largest in the region.

We have a historically lower infection rate than the national benchmark.

500+ surgeries performed over the past 10 years.