Epilepsy is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system. It affects nearly 110,000 people in the state of Michigan alone and 30,000 of these continue to have seizures despite medical treatment.

Beaumont offers one of the most comprehensive diagnostic and treatment programs for epilepsy in the state of Michigan. 


Epilepsy is a disorder in the brain that causes neurons, of clusters of nerves cells, to send abnormal electrical signals. These signals can trigger strange sensations, emotions, and behaviors. Which commonly lead to convulsions, seizures, muscles spasms, and potential loss of consciousness.

Epilepsy affects approximately one percent of the population and can occur in all age groups. Seizures are very common among the elderly, who represent the most rapidly growing population with epilepsy. In addition, one percent of all children in the United States suffer from some for of pediatric epilepsy.


The Epilepsy Clinic at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak is a neurology sub-specialty clinic. The clinic is located in the Neuroscience Center and specialties in the evaluation and treatment of epilepsy and related seizure disorders in both pediatric and adult patients.

The clinic offers collaborative treatment for people suffering from intractable epilepsy, women of child bearing age with epilepsy and other complex forms of the disorder. The clinic has a comprehensive approach to care, offering evaluation and epilepsy management expertise from:

  • epileptologists
  • neurosurgeons
  • specialized nursing
  • neuropsychologists
  • social workers

This multidisciplinary team creates an environment of physicians with exceptional knowledge in the field of epilepsy. Patients and their families benefit from this collaborative approach to care because it combines the knowledge of our experienced physician network with a wide array of epilepsy management options, both medical and surgical.

In addition to evaluation and management of their epilepsy, patients and their families receive thorough educational material about the condition and tips for managing their epilepsy more effectively through the clinic coordinator
and network of physicians.

Causes of Epilepsy

There are many different causes of epilepsy. Each person experiencing the disorder will have different symptoms, reactions and manifestations. Epilepsy can be acquired or be present since birth. Epilepsy can also be of unknown cause.

It is important to remember, however, that just because a person experiences a seizure does not mean he or she has epilepsy. As a rule, a patient must have two or more seizures in a consecutive manner to be diagnosed with epilepsy.

Diagnosing Epilepsy

Diagnosis of epilepsy can be made with specialized testing including electroencephalogram (EEG) and brain scans,
like computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Most often, evaluation with an expert, such as an epileptologist, is required for an accurate assessment and diagnosis. Patients may require extended evaluation in an inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit for further advanced testing.


It is important to begin epilepsy treatment as soon as the condition is diagnosed. A large majority of those suffering from the disorder can control their seizures with either medical or surgery.


In about two thirds of cases, epilepsy can be controlled, although not cured, with medication. This is frequently the first form of treatment used. As with any form of treatment, anti-convulsant medications prescribed are based specifically on the type of seizures and epilepsy with which one has been diagnosed.

Controlling seizures with medications can have tremendous positive effects on quality of life, including functional independence and driving. One area of specialty for the program is in helping patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.


If medication does not control a patient’s epilepsy, he or she is considered medically refractory and surgery may be a viable option for some patients. 

Epilepsy surgery is performed by a neurosurgeon and can be either palliative (to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures) or curative in some cases. This surgery usually involves removing or resecting the abnormal area of the brain that is causing seizures.

Patients with medically infractory epilepsy who are not candidates for resective surgery may qualify for a vagus nerve simulator or responsive neurostimulator (RNS, DBS) which also help reduce the frequency of seizures.

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