Epilepsy is a general term for seizures that start in the brain — find out how our neurologists can help

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About epilepsy

Epilepsy is a general term for seizures (uncontrollable shaking and jerking) that start in the brain.

Around 1 in 200 adults are affected by this condition, epilepsy can also affect children.

Epilepsy can be caused by stroke, head injuries and brain tumours. In other cases, it simply runs in the family. If you're concerned you have epilepsy, we can help diagnose and treat it.

Need to know

There are different types of seizure. Epileptic seizures start in the brain. They can be caused by stroke, head injuries and brain tumours, as well as infections like meningitis and encephalitis. Epilepsy can also run in the family. The common symptoms of epilepsy are:

  • fits (uncontrollable jerking and shaking)
  • losing awareness
  • passing out
  • collapsing
  • stiffness
A diagnosis is often carried out if you've had two or more seizures. It can be difficult to diagnose epilepsy as there is no single test for it. Nevertheless, your HCA UK neurologist will work with you to get to the root of your symptoms. They'll most likely ask you to describe what happened during your previous seizures to find out if anything in particular triggered it. They'll also look into your medical history. If required, they may recommend certain diagnostic tests, like an electroencephalogram (EEG), to assess the electrical activity in your brain.

Your neurologist will discuss your treatment options with you. This might include prescribing anti-epileptic drugs to help manage the symptoms of your seizures. In other cases, your neurologist may recommend surgery to remove the part of your brain which is causing your epilepsy.

Alternatively, the groundbreaking Visualase® technique, available at The Harley Street Clinic and London Neurosurgery Partnership, has proved incredibly effective for treating epilepsy. This minimally invasive treatment uses MRI-guided laser ablation, to essentially burn away the brain tissue mutations which cause patients to have epileptic seizures. There are minimal side effects and unlike traditional surgery, patients can normally leave hospital just one day after having the treatment.

Our locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.