Epilepsy

Cecily Key, an EEG technologist, and Dr. David Spencer are part of our expert team for diagnosing and treating epilepsy.
Cecily Key, an EEG technologist, and Dr. David Spencer are part of our expert team for diagnosing and treating epilepsy.

The OHSU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center provides Oregon’s most advanced services for diagnosing and treating epilepsy. Our specialists are able to offer seizure-ending therapy to more patients than ever.

We offer you:

  • Exceptional care from a team of neurologists, neurosurgeons and other specialists with advanced training in epilepsy.
  • Oregon’s only Level 4 epilepsy center, with the highest level of care.
  • A state-of-the-art epilepsy monitoring unit designed for your safety and comfort.
  • Oregon’s only minimally invasive robot-MRI-laser system for identifying and treating complex epilepsy.
  • Team-based care, with specialists who work together.
  • Advanced imaging to pinpoint where seizures start and to guide neurosurgeons in real time.
  • A commitment to research and clinical trials to improve patient care.

Learn about epilepsy from Dr. David Spencer, director of the OHSU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.

Our excellence

Epilepsy monitoring unit: We have one of Oregon’s few EMUs, with private rooms that include a bed for an adult guest. Our unit is also designed for your safety, with 24/7 video EEG (electroencephalogram) monitoring.

Level 4 epilepsy center: Our center has Level 4 accreditation from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. This means we offer the highest level of care. We can diagnose and treat even the most complex cases.

National recognition: We are part of the OHSU Brain Institute, which is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a high-performing center for neurology and neurosurgery. We have top scores for nursing staffing, advanced technology and patient services.

Robot-MRI-laser system: Our neurosurgeons were the first in Oregon to use an advanced combination of technologies to treat complex epilepsy in children and adults. This system, with robotic stereotactic assistance (ROSA), is more precise, safe and fast. It also makes surgery possible for patients who were once considered ineligible.

Groundbreaking research: Our specialists bring innovations from the lab to the bedside. For example, our doctors participated in research on a responsive neurostimulation (RNS) system, now available to patients. This implantable brain device detects unusual electrical activity to prevent or stop seizures.

Meet OHSU’s Dr. Ahmed Raslan, the first Oregon neurosurgeon to use robotic surgery to treat a patient with epilepsy.

Complete care

We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that controls your seizures. We are devoted to helping you have the fullest life possible. At our center, you’ll find:

Team approach: Our specialists work together. They also meet twice a month to review cases, going over test results to recommend the most effective treatment plan for you.

Quick adjustments: We start with medication, the only treatment most patients need to control seizures. But we also quickly identify patients who need additional options. This helps us control seizures early, protecting your health.

Specialized expertise: Your care team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists who specialize in brain and nervous system conditions. Our doctors are all board-certified and have expertise in epilepsy care.

Access to clinical trials: We do many research studies of new medications. This research may give you access to therapies that are not yet widely available.

Comprehensive care for children, teens and adults: We have a close partnership with the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

The latest treatments and innovations

We offer the most advanced options for epilepsy diagnosis and treatment. Many of our services are unique in Oregon and uncommon nationwide. They include:

Intraoperative MRI (iMRI): Intraoperative (during surgery) MRI gives our neurosurgeons real-time brain imaging. This enables surgeons to precisely target tissue to be removed in epilepsy surgery while sparing healthy brain tissue.

Responsive neurostimulation: Our epilepsy specialists helped develop the RNS system. This implantable brain device delivers a small electrical signal to disrupt or prevent seizures.

SPECT scans: Single-photon emission computerized tomography produces detailed 3D images of the brain. We compare images taken during a seizure and not — to see changes in brain blood flow. This helps us see where seizures begin, and whether they start in one or more locations. In Oregon, only OHSU offers this imaging for epilepsy diagnosis.

Laser ablation therapy: OHSU is one of only a few dozen centers in the U.S. offering laser interstitial thermal therapy to treat epilepsy. This minimally invasive option, paired with iMRI imaging, enables surgeons to remove the source of seizures through tiny incisions.

Advanced EEG: Our EEG technology allows us to pinpoint where seizures begin anywhere in the brain. We routinely use video EEG to record seizure activity in our epilepsy monitoring unit.

Research and clinical trials

Our center, as part of the OHSU Brain Institute, is committed to research that expands scientific understanding and improves patient care. Our epilepsy specialists are known nationwide for innovative research on epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Research areas include studies of:

  • Fast-acting medications for use in emergencies outside a medical setting, such as at home.
  • Other forms of electrical stimulation, similar to the RNS system, to stop seizures.
  • New medications or combinations of medications for epilepsy.
  • New medication for children, based on the marijuana derivative cannabidiol, to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy.
  • The effect on memory of common epilepsy drugs.
  • The use of MRI to pinpoint where seizures start in the brain, making surgery safer and more effective.

Learn more about OHSU Brain Institute clinical trials and check our database for trials that are accepting patients.

For patients

Location

Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Center for Health & Healing Building 1, eighth floor
3303 S.E. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions

Refer a patient

First robotic brain surgery

Bryan Black became the first patient in Oregon to have brain surgery with robotic assistance

Bryan Black became the first patient in Oregon to have brain surgery with robotic assistance. OHSU’s Dr. Ahmed Raslan was able to place thin electrode wires through tiny incisions to pinpoint the source of Black’s epilepsy seizures.

Stay informed

Blog: Find news, events, tips and more on OHSU’s On the Brain blog.

News: Read about research breakthroughs, patient care and many other topics on the OHSU News site.