Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

Epilepsy Neurostimulation Clinic

An essential tool in treating seizures

Neurostimulation therapy uses external electrical impulses to counteract the electrical impulses that originate in the brain causing seizures. Texas Children’s Hospital Epilepsy Neurostimulation Clinic is on the forefront of adapting current neurostimulation therapies for children.

About a third of children with epilepsy don’t have an adequate response to medications. For these children, surgical therapies can be an effective alternative. Some seizures, however, originate from diffuse areas of the brain or from a location where surgery carries significant risk to a child’s quality of life. In these cases, neurostimulation can offer relief to children and their families who are experiencing frequent seizures.

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)

VNS is an effective therapy for seizures that arise from diffuse areas of the brain. VNS is performed by surgically placing a small battery into the chest wall. Small wires are then attached to the battery and placed under the skin and around one of the vagus nerves. When your child feels a seizure coming on, he or she may activate the impulses by holding a small magnet over the battery. In many cases, doing so will help to stop the seizure.

Responsive neurostimulation (RNS)

By operating on a closed-loop system, RNS can detect and respond to the electrical impulses generated during seizure activity without any activation by your child. It’s used when most seizures originate from a specific location in the brain, especially if the location isn’t safe for other surgeries.

The RNS device uses sensors that are implanted in the brain to detect seizure activity. It then responds to that activity with neurostimulation. As a result, seizures in delicate areas of the brain are stopped, or their severity is decreased, without destroying the essential function of this area of the brain.

RNS was approved for treatment of adult seizures in 2014 and has proven effective in treatment of children with difficult to treat forms of epilepsy. Texas Children’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has more experience with this technology in children than most other epilepsy centers in the country.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

TMS is a noninvasive therapy for epilepsy. This outpatient procedure uses a magnetic device that is placed on the head and sends low frequency electrical stimulation to the brain. The low-grade electrical impulses that are sent to the brain using this technique help to repress excess electrical activity and reduce the number of seizures your child has.