Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
Advanced Therapies Program

Second Opinions for Children with Hard-to-Control Seizures

The Epilepsy Advanced Therapies Program offers comprehensive evaluations and treatment recommendations for children with seizures/epilepsy who:

  • Have tried at least one anti-seizure medication without achieving effective seizure control
  • Have questions or concerns about their diagnosis of seizures / epilepsy or the underlying cause

Our core team includes pediatric neurologists who specialize in epilepsy, clinical psychologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, genetic counselors, social workers, a clinical pharmacist, and dieticians. These dedicated individuals work together to develop each child’s treatment plan and provide comprehensive, personalized care.

The Epilepsy Advanced Therapies Program (also referred to as a “second opinion” program) began in 2012 and has grown every year since. Families travel from throughout our region, from other states and even from different countries to receive a thorough evaluation and treatment recommendations from our experienced multidisciplinary team. We accept referrals from neurologists at Cincinnati Children’s and other institutions, and welcome self referrals as well.

What to Expect

Before your first appointment at the Epilepsy Advanced Therapies Clinic, our team will gather information about your child’s medical history and request past test results (particularly results of any electroencephalography test or brain scan). One of our nurses will call you to talk about your child and your specific goals in coming to the clinic. If the team feels that your child needs additional testing, the nurse will help schedule those appointments at Cincinnati Children’s in a convenient timeframe.

During the first visit, an epileptologist (neurologist who specializes in the treatment of epilepsy) will provide a thorough physical and ask a lot of questions to better understand your child’s day-to-day experience with epilepsy and treatment history. At the end of that first visit, our team will meet with your family to talk about findings and present initial treatment recommendations. If more tests are needed before treatment can begin, we will schedule them as quickly as possible. Usually, treatment can start within two to four weeks of the initial visit.

In most cases, the Epilepsy Advanced Therapies team is able to offer a new treatment plan that could lessen a child’s seizures and improve his or her quality of life. This might include a different medication regimen—perhaps a new drug, or different dosing—or a dietary regimen including ketogenic diet or Modified Atkins Diet.

If the team believes that surgery is your child’s best option for seizure control, the epileptologist will talk to you about that possibility, and the team will provide additional information about epilepsy surgery. If your family is comfortable exploring the surgical option, a pre-surgical evaluation can be started within the next few weeks, usually without any additional clinic visits. 

Many patients remain with our clinic for long-term follow-up care. Others—especially those who live far away—return to their referring physician to begin the new treatment plan. In that case, our team sends the neurologist a detailed follow-up report. Our specialists are always available to answer questions and provide support.

About one to three months after treatment begins, your child will return for a follow-up appointment. These take longer than a routine doctor’s appointment—typically one to two hours.

Your child will return to the follow-up clinic on a regular schedule, usually about four times a year, so that we can evaluate how the treatment is working. During every follow-up visit, your child will be seen by a nurse practitioner who will focus on medical issues such as seizure control and medication side effects, and a clinical psychologist who will focus on how your child is doing in areas such as mood, behavior and learning. They communicate frequently with our epileptologists, who are available to answer questions and provide guidance as needed.

Your child may undergo additional tests, including EEGs or blood work at some follow-up visits. At some visits, the psychologist will provide a screening that will help identify any problems that may need to be addressed.

Your child’s care team is available by email or phone in between appointments. If you have a question or concern you would like to discuss with any of our team members, please contact us.