Epilepsy Services

Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network treats a large number of epilepsy patients, giving us a depth of expertise not found at many hospitals. Our board-certified pediatric neurologists and support staff are here to make you and your child comfortable at every step of diagnosis and treatment.

Why Choose Mary Bridge for Epilepsy Treatment?

We provide compassionate, child-centered care. Parents trust us to treat their children because we offer:

  • Advanced treatment: All of our physicians are board-certified pediatric neurologists, with specialists in epilepsy treatment, pediatric neurosurgery and research. Mary Bridge offers a full range of specialty care such as neuropsychology and pediatric rehabilitation services to enhance your child’s quality of life.
  • Personalized support: To make treatment easier on your family, we offer services that include nurse navigators, support groups and seamless referrals. Our complex care team helps coordinate services for children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses.
  • Convenient care: Our  locations throughout South Puget Sound make it easy to get expert epilepsy care without spending hours traveling to Seattle.

Epilepsy Diagnosis

Our team approach to diagnosis means your child will see multiple experts skilled in recognizing the symptoms of neurological disorders.  Epilepsy is a disorder that can occur alongside other neurological conditions, which is why it is so important to see an experienced pediatric neurologist who can provide a complete diagnosis.

Our specialists diagnose epilepsy with tests that include:

  • EEG (electroencephalogram): The most common method of diagnosing epilepsy is with an EEG, which measures brain activity with small electrodes (discs) placed on the scalp. We offer both inpatient and outpatient EEG testing, as well as in-home EEG to make testing more comfortable for your child.
  • CT (computerized tomography) scan: This procedure combines X-rays with computer technology to create detailed brain images. During the scan, your child will need to lie on a small table that slides through a large donut-shaped machine.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): This type of scan uses radio waves and powerful magnets to create detailed brain images. For an MRI, your child will lie on a small table that slides into a tunnel-shaped machine. An MRI takes approximately 40 minutes, possibly longer when a child requires sedation. We have technology available so your child can watch a movie during the MRI.

Our child life specialists explain procedures in child-friendly language. A sedation services team helps your child stay comfortable during any tests.

Learn more about  diagnosis and testing.

Treatment Options for Epilepsy

For most people, medication can help control seizures. Some children even grow out of seizures with age. Our pediatric neurologists will create a personalized treatment plan for your child, providing extra support to make treatment easier on your child and family.

Treatment options may include:

  • Medication management: Anti-seizure drugs help control seizures for the majority of children. We work with you to find the most effective medication for your child. Our online MyChart platform makes it easy to email your child’s doctor 24/7 to request refills, see test results and ask questions.
  • Pediatric neurosurgery: If anti-seizure drugs may stop working, surgery may help control seizures. Our pediatric neurosurgeons can implant a vagus nerve stimulator device that can help reduce seizures and medication dosages. This device sends electrical signals to the brain through the vagus nerve in the lower neck. Learn more about  pediatric neurosurgery.
  • Tailored diet: In some children, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets like the ketogenic or modified Atkins diets can control or even eliminate seizures. We work with licensed dietitians to create a personalized diet that meets your child’s needs.

Cannabidiol (CBD) Clinical Trials

We were one of the first centers in the country to conduct a clinical trial on using cannabidiol (CBD) to treat debilitating forms of epilepsy. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis (marijuana), meaning it does not cause the patient to feel high.

Research shows CBD may be effective in treating complex forms of epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These conditions cause severe seizures and do not respond to most medications.

Please call 253-792-6630 if you are interested in having your child participate in a clinical trial.

Comprehensive Epilepsy Support

We offer a full range of support services to help make treatment easier on your child, including:

  • Child life services: During every test and treatment, a child life specialist will be by your child’s side to put him or her at ease.  Child life specialists explain procedures in child-friendly language, also providing entertainment and distraction.
  • Personal health partners (PHPs): Our PHP teams include a nurse and a social worker who help coordinate care, answer questions and point you to key resources. PHPs also provide personalized guidance for transitioning to adult treatment.
  • Complex care team: This interdisciplinary team includes a physician, nurse and social worker to coordinate treatment among specialists and support services for children with severe illness.
  • Sedation services: Our sedation services team is available during tests and treatments to make sure your child is comfortable.
  • Support groups: We offer support groups to connect parents of children with neurological disorders and teens living with these conditions.

Learn more about our  support services.

Contact Us

Call us at 253-792-6630 to make an appointment with one of our specialists.