Why Choose CHOP for Pediatric Epilepsy Care?

Dedicated pediatric epilepsy experts

The Pediatric Epilepsy Program within Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Neuroscience Center is one of the largest epilepsy programs in the world. We have been recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers as a Level 4 (highest) Epilepsy Center. This means we have the expertise and facilities to provide the highest-level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for infants, children and adolescents with seizures and epilepsy.  

From initial diagnosis and testing to the most complex and technologically advanced epilepsy surgeries, we use an interdisciplinary approach and state-of-the-art technology to provide individually tailored treatments for children to reduce seizures and improve related neurobehavioral conditions.  

Our program offers patients and families several distinct advantages:

  • A multidisciplinary team including neurologists, neurosurgeons, certified nurse practitioners, clinical nurses, psychologists, neuropsychologists, neuropathologists, neuroradiologists, dieticians, genetic counselors, and social workers, all with expertise and deep experience in caring for children with epilepsy.
  • A dedicated, 24-bed inpatient Neuroscience Unit staffed by a team with specialized training in pediatric neuroscience. This state-of-the-art unit is specially equipped to meet the unique medical and surgical needs of infants, children and young adults with neurological and neurosurgical conditions. The unit’s dedicated family-focused rounds improve our team’s ability to collaborate with families and one another to provide the best care for our patients.
  • State-of-the-art inpatient and outpatient video-EEG monitoring unit with an experienced team of EEG technologists accredited by the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic Technologists (ABRET) who provide 24/7 in-house EEG technologist coverage. The unit provides advanced epilepsy monitoring including intracranial stereotactic EEG monitoring.
  • Access to the latest minimally invasive surgery techniques and technologies that allow us to develop a personalized epilepsy surgery plan for each child that will optimize seizure control and minimize pain, which results in a better recovery and overall outcome.
  • Thorough evaluation of potential epilepsy surgery candidates
  • Support group that connects current and future epilepsy surgery families with those who have already experienced epilepsy surgery.  
  • Largest ketogenic diet program in the world with internationally known expertise and a network of support groups.
  • Participation in antiseizure medication clinical trials.
  • Support for transitioning to adult care through our outpatient program in partnership with Penn Medicine, which has successfully transitioned more than 200 patients with epilepsy since 2018.
  • Close collaboration with providers outside of CHOP, both across the United States and internationally, in order to provide each child streamlined access to all of our resources for advanced diagnostic evaluation and treatment options.
  • Opportunities to participate in research and discovery.

Our philosophy is to be guided by the goals of each unique patient and family, and to partner with each family to embark on personalized, comprehensive treatment plans to achieve those goals. We work hard to help children and their families enjoy lives unaffected by seizures.

Full array of surgical solutions

We offer the most advanced surgical techniques available in the treatment of children with epilepsy. The depth of our experience and technical expertise underlies our outstanding outcomes. Our surgical outcomes are well above what is typically achieved at other centers, with 87% seizure freedom in focal resections and 92% seizure freedom in hemispherotomy in 2022.  

Procedures we offer include:

  • Minimally invasive, Rosa robot-assisted stereoelectroencephalography (sEEG) to pinpoint the precise source of the seizure activity in the brain  
  • Laser ablation brain surgery, a minimally invasive approach to corpus callosotomy, hypothalamic hamartoma, and other small seizure foci
  • Functional hemispherotomy to disconnect parts of the brain through a small craniotomy
  • Robotic-assisted responsive neurostimulation (RNS) for children with seizures coming from areas of the brain that control language, motor or sensory function
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for children with focal or multifocal epilepsy
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) to send small electrical pulses from the vagus nerve in the neck to the brain
  • Resection with a dedicated pediatric neuroanesthesia team
  • Awake craniotomy with cognitive testing performed in the operating room by a dedicated intraoperative neuropsychology team to precisely identify essential brain regions that cannot be resected  

Our Family Connection Through Trust, Information, Empathy and Support (Family TIES) program connects families that have already experienced pediatric epilepsy surgery with current and prospective patients and their families.

Nonsurgical treatment approaches

Our Ketogenic Diet Program uses food to treat seizures. The program is recognized for its cutting-edge approach to education, parent support and research.  

We have the largest cohort in the world of children with epilepsy treated with diets. Since 1999, we have started more than 900 patients on dietary treatments, and we currently have about 250 children actively treated.   

Our inpatient Keto Kitchen is a teaching kitchen where parents and caregivers of children in our program can learn to prepare the foods their child will need when following a dietary treatment for epilepsy. Opened in 2013, the Keto Kitchen is the first of its kind, equipped with all the necessary appliances, tools, and ingredients to teach families hands-on how to prepare ketogenic recipes.  

Offering genetic testing to all

Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological condition of childhood, affecting 500,000 children in the United States. More than 50% of children with epilepsy have an underlying genetic etiology. Research advances in this area have led to the identification of genes that cause seizures, allowing us to target therapies more effectively to deliver personalized care.   

Our Epilepsy Neurogenetics Initiative (ENGIN) integrates genetic testing into the diagnosis and treatment of children with difficult-to-treat or unexplained epilepsies, and provides access to expert care for children with genetic epilepsy syndromes and other genetic neurodevelopmental disorders.  

ENGIN’s interdisciplinary clinics are staffed by 13 neurologists specializing in neurogenetic diseases, two physical therapists, two occupational therapists, six genetic counselors, three genetic counseling assistants, and one social worker.

To date, the ENGIN program has evaluated more than 3,000 patients with epilepsy and other neurodevelopmental disorders from 29 states and has made more than 281 unique genetic diagnoses, making it the largest pediatric epilepsy genetics program in the country.  

Bringing the power of research to patients

Our Pediatric Epilepsy Program team includes both clinical and basic scientists dedicated to finding better explanations for why seizures develop, finding better treatments for seizures, and preventing seizures from starting in the first place. We strive to bring advances from the laboratory to the clinic and the hospital to improve patient care in real time.

Our team works with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and colleagues around the USA and the world on a wide variety of research projects, including evaluation of investigational seizure medications and clinical trials. We also continually collaborate with patient-family partners to improve health outcomes and the quality of care for children and youth with epilepsy.

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