Epilepsy Service Home
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.
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:
- Consultation services at the request of primary care physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons and other specialists
- Epilepsy surgery for patients with epilepsy that is poorly controlled by medication
- First Seizure Clinic for rapid evaluation of patients with newly recognized episodes thought to represent seizures
- Pediatric epilepsy services in which specialists diagnose and treat seizures and related conditions in infants, children and adolescents (MassGeneral Hospital for Children)
- Epilepsy Monitoring Unit for sophisticated evaluation of potential surgical candidates and for diagnostic evaluation of patients with episodes that may represent seizures
- Second-opinion and record-review services to assist physicians in optimizing diagnosis and care for patients with complex neurological problems
- E-consults in which we offer consultation and record review using electronic data transfer under the auspices of the Partners Online Specialty Consultations program.
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.
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.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition involving the brain that makes people more susceptible to having seizures.
The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.
Dietary therapy is prescribed most often for patients with refractory epilepsy, whose seizures have not been controlled despite trying multiple antiepileptic drugs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After years of seizures, a new device gives one Mass General epilepsy patient a new lease on life.
NeuroBlast: the newsletter of translational neuroscience and clinical care advances in neurology, neurosurgery, and neuroscience from Massachusetts General Hospital.
Epilepsy ServiceWang Ambulatory Care Center
8th Floor, Suite 835
15 Parkman Street
Boston, MA 02114
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Consultation Second Opinion and Record Review
Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, First Seizure Clinic, Epilepsy Surgery
Pediatric Epilepsy website
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
Samantha R. Donovan
Clinical Research Coordinator