Epilepsy Service

The MGH Epilepsy Service offers diagnosis, treatment, and consultations for seizure disorders, including surgical evaluations, and specialized care for first seizure events.


The Epilepsy Service at Massachusetts General Hospital is committed to improving the lives of people with epilepsy and related disorders through clinical services, clinical and basic research, and medical education and training.

We offer comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for patients, from first seizure events to surgical evaluation of seizure disorders. In addition, we use detailed neurophysiological, neuroradiological and neuropsychological testing as required to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment.

What to Expect

If you are interested in a clinical consultation with us, we strongly recommend that you first receive a referral from your primary care physician or neurologist. A referral letter outlining your issues allows us to make your first visit as productive as possible. A referral to our center would be appropriate if your seizures have not been brought under control after three months of care by a primary care provider or after 12 months of care by a general neurologist.

Because epilepsy is a chronic condition, the most significant benefit we offer patients comes from evaluating your symptoms and proposing changes to your treatment program. Once we have taken these steps, we typically partner with your primary care physician or neurologist to manage your continuing care. If you should encounter any setbacks, we work with the referring physician to make necessary adjustments in your treatment.

Please note: We accept both physician referrals and self-referrals for an appointment at the First Seizure Clinic or for a second opinion or record review. In the case of second opinions, our preference is to comanage your ongoing care with your treating physician.

A Collaborative, Multidisciplinary Environment

When assessing a patient, our first priority is to understand the underlying cause of his or her disease. We meet weekly to review all active cases, so patients benefit from the input of multiple physicians and research investigators across a wide range of subspecialties.

The Epilepsy Service conducts pioneering research efforts via clinical trials (Clinical Trials at Partners), imaging research and laboratory research. In the latter category, for example, we aim to better understand brain activity by using innovative neurophysiological recording techniques with the long-term goal of improving therapies for patients with epilepsy.

Advanced technologies available at Mass General help us continually set new standards in the field. For example, as a result of our sophisticated imaging capabilities, we can maintain dedicated scanning protocols optimized for the pathologies that cause epilepsy. In fact, many regional and even national centers refer patients for specific imaging studies or contact us for guidance on imaging and scanning.

Finally, the Epilepsy Service is well known as a leader in epilepsy surgery. Evaluation is directed by one of our seasoned epileptologists, who works with a multidisciplinary team including neurosurgeons, a neuroradiologist, neuropsychologists, nurse practitioners and other health professionals. To date, we have performed over 500 surgeries, giving us experience that few epilepsy centers can match.


Updated 10/18/2011

Clinical Services

The Epilepsy Service at Massachusetts General Hospital evaluates and helps manage treatment for patients with epilepsy and related disorders.

Our comprehensive range of clinical services includes:

Filling an Important Need

Andrew J. Cole, MD, founded the Epilepsy Service in 1992 and continues to serve as our director. He has helped assemble a world-class team of subspecialists, including dedicated neuroradiologists and neurosurgeons who specialize in epilepsy surgery. Together, we have earned a reputation for communicating and collaborating closely with neurologists in Greater Boston, around the country and around the world.

Among our key milestones:

  • In 1999 we launched the First Seizure Clinic, which was one of the nation's first clinics to focus exclusively on patients suffering seizures for the first time.
  • In 2002 we launched the MGH Pediatric Epilepsy Program.

As a National Association of Epilepsy Centers-certified Level 4 Epilepsy Center, we "provide the more complex forms of intensive neurodiagnostics monitoring, as well as more extensive medical, neuropsychological and psychosocial treatment." We also offer a complete evaluation for epilepsy surgery, including intracranial monitoring and complex surgical procedures that many other institutions do not perform.

Research Opportunities

The Epilepsy Service maintains an active research program, and some patients will have the opportunity to enroll in research or clinical trials (Clinical Trials at Partners). For information about ongoing studies and the ability to participate, please call 617-726-5904.



Updated 10/18/2011

Epilepsy and Seizures

Epilepsy is a neurological condition involving the brain that makes people more susceptible to having seizures.

Dietary Therapy for Pediatric Epilepsy

Dietary therapy is prescribed most often for patients with refractory epilepsy, whose seizures have not been controlled despite trying multiple antiepileptic drugs.

NeuroBlast e-Newsletter December 2013

In this issue: spinal metastases & stereotactic radiosurgery; skull base tumors & endoscopic surgery; pediatric epilepsy dietary therapy; Alzheimer Disease: tau pathology; drug & gene discovery; early treatment; preclinical diagnostic tools.

Will New Research Redefine Epilepsy?

Recent research is challenging the traditional definition of epilepsy as an expression of increased excitability and firing of a group of neurons. This has major implications for clinical treatment.

The MGH Epilepsy Service – Where Complexity Meets Innovation

When Elton, a young Albanian architect, couldn’t find treatment for his disabling seizures in Albania, he traveled 500 miles to Austria to meet with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Epilepsy Service Director Andrew J. Cole, MD. Dr. Cole, in Austria on a business trip, felt Elton was a good candidate for surgery and brought his case back to his colleagues in Boston.

The MGH Epilepsy Service – Where Complexity Meets Innovation

A young Albanian architect found help for his seizure disorders thanks to a unique team of specialists from the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

New device brings hope to epilepsy patients

After years of seizures, a new device gives one Mass General epilepsy patient a new lease on life.

NeuroBlast e-Newsletter

NeuroBlast: the newsletter of translational neuroscience and clinical care advances in neurology, neurosurgery, and neuroscience from Massachusetts General Hospital.

Treatment for epileptic seizures in young patient

Treatment for epileptic seizures with Dr. Thiele and brain surgery performed by Dr. Duhaime help this young epileptic patient regain normalcy after experiencing up to 12 seizures daily.

A young man recovers from seizures and coma

The Neuro Critical Care Team’s excellence in service and innovation bring a young man back to life after epileptic seizures leave him comatose for five months. Features Dr. Rosand and Dr. Cole.

Partners Neurology Residency

Neurology residents, program graduates, faculty members, and the education director talk about training at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Epilepsy: The Road to a Cure

A young man's quest to find a cure for his epileptic seizures takes him on a journey from Albania to Boston.

Acute Stroke Care: When Time is Critical

13 days after giving birth to her son, a young woman suffers a stroke and makes a miraculous recovery. Features Dr. Leslie-Mazwi, Dr. Mehta and Dr. Musolino.

Epilepsy Service

Wang Ambulatory Care Center
8th Floor, Suite 835
15 Parkman Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-3311
Fax: 617-726-9250
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Consultation Second Opinion and Record Review

Phone: 617-726-3311

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, First Seizure Clinic, Epilepsy Surgery

Phone: 617-726-3311

Pediatric Epilepsy

Phone: 617-726-6540
Pediatric Epilepsy website

Mailing Address

Andrew J. Cole, MD
Director, Mass General Hospital Epilepsy Service
Chief, Mass General Epilepsy Research Laboratory
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114


Clinical Trials

Samantha R. Donovan
Clinical Research Coordinator

Next Steps: