Pediatric Comprehensive Epilepsy Program

The Pediatric Comprehensive Epilepsy Program specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with epilepsy. The program is committed to providing multidisciplinary care, recognizing that a child with epilepsy and his or her family often have complex and diverse problems that cannot be solved by a single person. The team includes pediatric epileptologists (neurologists who specialize in epilepsy), neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and child life therapists. The goal is a simple one: The restoration of quality of life to children and adolescents with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a common medical condition, affecting 0.5-1 percent of all children. Each year 150,000 children and adolescents in the United States will have a newly occurring single seizure. Thirty thousand of these individuals will be diagnosed with epilepsy (1), which is characterized by repeated seizures. The highest incidence of epilepsy is in the first year of life; often the seizures that occur in infancy are severe and damaging. Appropriate classification of the epileptic condition is the cornerstone of therapy. With appropriate classification, most children with epilepsy are well controlled on one antiepileptic medication without side effects. There are, however, a significant number of children whose epileptic conditions are resistant to medical treatment, in which case epilepsy surgery can be a highly effective option.

Our Pediatric Epilepsy Team

Our pediatric epileptologists, Dr. Judith Bluvstein, Dr. Orrin Devinsky, Dr. Daniel Miles, and Dr. James Riviello, specialize in caring for children and teenagers who have seizures, and are renowned for their expertise.

Our pediatric epilepsy team also includes world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Howard Weiner. He is a pioneer in the field of surgery for children with epilepsy as well as for those with Tuberous Sclerosis. His surgical success rate demonstrates a track record of exceptional results and an extremely low complication rate. Due to the cosmetic techniques he uses, there is almost no visible scar from the surgery. Dr. Weiner was an award-winning medical student, has presented at National and International Conferences, and has published extensively in journals such as Epilepsia, the Journal of Child Neurology, Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery, Journal of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Our pediatric epilepsy team also includes a pediatric pharmacist, pediatric neuroradiologists, a pediatric neuropsychologist, pediatric epilepsy nurses and EEG technicians. The Pediatric Epilepsy Unit operates year round and services are available in both English and Spanish.

Our Pediatric Epilepsy Unit

The Tisch Hospital Pediatric Epilepsy Unit features state-of-the-art technology. Children undergo video-EEG monitoring in a comfortable setting and are cared for by friendly and experienced staff. In addition to eight hospital beds dedicated to children and teenagers, the unit also has two neonatal beds for our youngest patients.

The playroom is one of the few recreation areas in the United States where children can be monitored while they take a break from their hospital bed. Our part-time recreational therapist uses creative techniques like art therapy, music therapy, and horticulture therapy. Tutors can spend an hour or two with each child daily. A library in the unit also has books, videotapes, DVDs, and video game consoles for children to enjoy.

Articles of Interest

Behavioral Issues in Children with Epilepsy - By Nidia Ortiz, RN, PNP
Are Seizures Bad for the Brain? - By Souhel Najjar, M.D.
Ten Common Misconceptions About Childhood Epilepsy - by Daniel Miles, MD
Talking To Your Child About Epilepsy - FACES Newsletter
FACES Pediatric Resource Handbook

Surgery for Children

Quick Facts:

  • As many as 20% of children with epilepsy could benefit from epilepsy surgery.
  • More than 90% of children who have epilepsy surgery stop having seizures entirely or see a reduction in the number of seizures.
  • Studies have shown that the earlier in a child’s development that surgery is performed, the better the outcome.
  • The NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has done more pediatric epilepsy surgeries with better results than any other epilepsy center in the Northeast.

Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery at NYU

The NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is one of the largest medical treatment centers for children with epilepsy in the United States. During the past 6 years, more than 250 brain surgeries have been performed for children with epilepsy. The average age of these children is 5 years old. Due to our tremendous successes treating children that were not considered surgical candidates by other centers, we have earned an International reputation for taking on the most difficult cases.

Types of Epilepsy Surgeries Performed

Some of the types of surgeries performed at NYU include temporal lobe resections, corpus callosotomy, lesionectomy, hemispherectomy, extra-temporal resections, stereotactic ablations and stimulation, multiple subpial transections, surgery for patients with Tuberous Sclerosis and Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy (VNS).

Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Support Services

FACES is an organization within the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center whose mission is to fund epilepsy research, education and awareness, and community building events for people with epilepsy, with a special emphasis on children and teenagers. The FACES apartments are also available free of charge for the parents of children seeking treatment at the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. The apartments help families traveling from far distances for medical treatment lasting from one week to three weeks. The FACES apartments typically have a 2-3 month waiting list, so please call or email early for best availability.