Overview

Mayo Clinic's epilepsy experts provide comprehensive care for more than 7,000 adults and children with epilepsy each year. Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder that affects the nerve cell activity in your brain, causing seizures. During seizures, you may experience abnormal behavior, symptoms and sensations, including loss of consciousness.

About 1 in 26 people in the United States will develop a seizure disorder. Approximately 10 percent of individuals will experience one or more unprovoked seizures. However, having one seizure doesn't mean you have epilepsy. Usually, at least two or more seizures are required for the diagnosis of epilepsy. Seizure signs and symptoms vary. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs.

Your Mayo Clinic care team

Mayo Clinic's world-renowned epilepsy teams include neurologists, neurosurgeons, imaging specialists (radiologists), mental health specialists (neuropsychologists) and other professionals who work together to provide exactly the care you need. Having all of this subspecialized expertise in a single place, focused on you, means that you're not just getting one opinion — your care is discussed among the team, your test results are available quickly, appointments are scheduled in coordination, and the most highly specialized epilepsy experts in the world are all working together for you.

What might take months to accomplish elsewhere can typically be done in only a matter of days at Mayo Clinic.

Advanced diagnosis & treatment

Mayo Clinic epilepsy care teams use advanced technology, including subtraction ictal SPECT coregistered to MRI (SISCOM), electroencephalography, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography and other tests to accurately diagnose epilepsy. Each Mayo Clinic location offers inpatient video-EEG epilepsy monitoring.

Mayo Clinic patients have access to the latest imaging and diagnostic tools available. What's more, Mayo Clinic scientists have a long history of inventing those cutting-edge technologies for patient care. For example, Mayo Clinic experts developed SISCOM, the imaging technology that pinpoints seizure locations to enable more accurate and effective surgeries.

With state-of-the-art research and laboratory facilities, Mayo Clinic experts are constantly seeking new medical knowledge and innovations like this for people with epilepsy. Today's research teams are studying potential treatments, including new medications, implantable brain stimulation devices and new surgical options. A variety of clinical trials and other clinical studies may be available to you at Mayo Clinic.

Even mild seizures may require treatment, because they can be dangerous during activities such as driving or swimming. Mayo Clinic epilepsy care teams have experience treating epilepsy to eliminate or reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures, from children to adults. Treatment options at Mayo Clinic include medications, vagus nerve stimulation, surgery, awake brain surgery, ketogenic diet and more.

If surgery is the most appropriate treatment, you want to be in the hands of experienced surgeons who perform these operations frequently. Neurosurgery is among the most complex of the surgical disciplines. Mayo Clinic neurosurgeons perform more than 100 epilepsy surgeries each year and use computer-assisted brain surgery to precisely operate in your brain.

Nationally recognized expertise

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) rates all three Mayo Clinic campuses as Level 4 Epilepsy Centers, providing the highest-level of diagnosis and treatment options for people with epilepsy.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, ranks No. 1 for neurology and neurosurgery in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, is ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery, and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, is ranked high performing for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery.