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VCU School of Medicine Department of Neurology, Division of Epilepsy
About the Epilepsy Center
Designated a Level 4 center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, the VCU Epilepsy Center provides a complex, extensive approach to neurodiagnostic monitoring and medical treatment of neuropsychological and psychosocial disorders. Fourth-level centers offer the most comprehensive care available for patients with epilepsy, including evaluations for surgery and other procedures.
The mission of the VCU Epilepsy Center is to:
Our team of physicians provides a comprehensive evaluation for adults and children with epilepsy in both the ambulatory and inpatient setting.
The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) here at VCU is a specialized five-bed inpatient unit designed to evaluate, diagnose and treat seizures in patients of all ages.
The VCU Epilepsy Center uses dense array electroencephalography (EEG) to obtain images of source localization to assist in pre-surgical planning for patients. The dense array method gathers brain activity data from up to 256 electrodes – more than conventional EEG products – and creates computer-generated three-dimensional models of the patient's head.
In conjunction with the Department of Radiology’s neuroradiology and nuclear medicine divisions, the VCU Epilepsy Center offers functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This form of imaging assesses changes in metabolism, blood flow, regional chemical composition and absorption to assist in management and pre-surgical planning.
Our center’s experienced neuropsychologists perform comprehensive neuropsychological assessments, which play a major role in determining cognitive risks in patients being considered for surgery to treat epilepsy.
Our team collaborates closely with our neurosurgical colleagues to provide Surgery is an option access to surgical approaches to epilepsy including resection, laser ablation and other functional procedures.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a medical treatment designed to prevent hard-to-treat seizures by sending regular, mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the body. A VNS Therapy® device similar to a pacemaker, implanted during a short outpatient procedure, delivers regular pulses throughout the day and can detect the start of a seizure and deliver an extra dose of therapy. It’s an option for seizure patients who don’t respond to medications and may not be candidates for surgery.
Response nerve stimulation (RNS®) is a system that continuously monitors electrical activity in the brain, detects patient-specific patterns and delivers brief pulses of stimulation when it detects activity that could lead to a seizure. The system targets the area of the brain where seizures originate, similar to traditional epilepsy surgery. The neurostimulator is implanted below the scalp, but unlike traditional epilepsy surgery, RNS® doesn’t involve the removal of brain tissue. Learn more about RNS here.
At the VCU Epilepsy Center, we are actively involved in performing translational, basic science as well as clinical research to help advance the understanding and care of patients with epilepsy.
The Division of Epilepsy offers a one-year epilepsy fellowship program. led by Dr. Victor Gonzalez Montoya and accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Those who successfully complete the program are eligible to take the Added Qualification in Epilepsy Exam offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Learn more about the Epilepsy Fellowship Program
Victor Gonzalez-Montoya, M.D.
Interim Chair, Division of Epilepsy
Robert J. DeLorenzo, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Kenichiro Ono, D.O.
Alan R. Towne, M.D., M.P.H