Epileptologists are neurologists who specialize in the research, diagnosis, treatment and management of epilepsy, a neurological disorder affecting the electrial activities within the brain.

About Epileptology

Epileptologists are physicians trained in neurology who have also completed specialized training and/or research in cases of epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by repeated seizures. Within the field of epileptology these physicians can perform a variety of different duties, including scientific research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of those suffering from epilepsy.

Epileptologists provide comprehensive care for patients suffering from epilepsy, which usually begins with a battery of tests to ensure the correct diagnosis. Following a definitive diagnosis of epilepsy, the physician often attempts to pinpoint the causes of the seizures before prescribing medications and other treatment techniques that may help to manage the condition.

While many hospitals employ epileptologists full time, these physicians may also be found in private practice, epilepsy clinics and in academic settings (such as a medical school or research institution). Typically, epileptologists will care exclusively for patients suffering from epilepsy, leaving other neurological disorders to neurologists or those with more specialized training. Those that care exclusively for epileptic children are known as pediatric epileptologists - the methods, treatments and prescriptions to manage epilepsy vary widely between children and adults.

Epileptology Education & Training

Because epileptologists are also trained as neurologists, their education and training is fairly similar. After completing an undergraduate degree and medical school, the physician will usually complete a one year internship before applying for a residency. Epileptologists pursue a residency in neurology, which will provide a solid base for practice in their specialty. The physician is introduced to the various neurological procedures and techniques, such as ECG, EEG, EMG and other neurological imaging techniques that are necessary to provide care as an epileptologists.

During the residency, the physician is trained in a manner than will prepare them for a highly specialized fellowship in epileptology. After completing residency training, the physician must complete fellowship training. During the fellowship, the physician will spend approximately one to two years learning from experienced epileptologists; they will be trained further in field of epileptic diagnosis and treatment procedures, including various forms of surgery. Some epileptology fellowships require the physician to perform research on a topic close to their line of study (comparable to a dissertation).

It is not required that epileptologists seek board certification, although it is available from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology - nonetheless, the many epileptologists do seek board certification. Like all other physicians, epileptologists are required to hold a valid state medical license.