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Refractory Epilepsy

We are a reference centre for the diagnosis and treatment of refractory epilepsy.

75% of epilepsy cases appear in childhood. The lives of the majority of children affected are not changed by the condition if a precise diagnosis is performed and the appropriate treatment prescribed.

The SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital is a benchmark centre for the diagnosis and treatment of childhood refractory epilepsy, with CSUR accreditation from the Spanish Ministry of Health.

Doctors from different specialties discuss each patient case-by-case. Additionally, we maintain a stable healthcare, teaching and research partnership with Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and with the Paediatric Epilepsy Unit of the University Hospital of Lyon, the largest in Europe.

We prepare our teenage patients for the moment when they are to be treated at an adults' centre and we perform follow-up when they turn eighteen.

Our services

Advanced technology

We have the most advanced technology for diagnosing and treating children and adolescents with epilepsy: continuous monitoring with a video electroencephalography (video EEG); structural neuroimaging (1.5 and 3 Tesla cerebral MR) and functional neuroimaging (PET, SPECT/SISCOM, functional MRI) techniques; metabolic diagnosis laboratory and genomic diagnostic platform.


Today there are drugs that are very effective for treating epilepsy. But in order to determine the most appropriate treatment in each case, it is important to have proper experience in accurately diagnosing which type of epilepsy is involved and the specific aspects of each case.

Dietary treatment

The ketogenic diet is a treatment that is complementary to drug treatment. It consists of a diet rich in fats and low in sugars, resulting in a state of ketosis which helps to improve seizure control. 

When our team considers this diet to be indicated, it works with the team of dieticians and nutritionists in the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition department.


Some epilepsies do not respond to drugs but must be treated with surgery. Our multidisciplinary team assesses whether this might be the best option for the child. 

Our specialists perform accurate pre-surgery evaluations to determine which surgical option is best for each child.

Surgical specialties

Surgical techniques for diagnostic purposes

Implantation of intracranial electrodes

This technique is used to study complex epilepsy cases. If indicated by the study, the epileptogenic zone is removed surgically.

It is not covered by public health

Surgical techniques for curatives purposes

Surgical removal of epilepsy focus

When it is possible to identify the area wher the seizure originates, this technique is used for curative purposes, when it does not lead to an unacceptable functional deficit.

It is not covered by public health


In cases where the epileptic seizures originate throughout one hemisphere, this procedure is used to completely disconnect the affected part.

It is not covered by public health

Surgical techniques for palliative care


This involves disconnecting one hemisphere from the other in cases where the epileptic seizures originate in both of them, with the aim of avoiding spreading and generalisation.

It is not covered by public health

Electric neurostimulation

This involves implanting a device that stimulates the central nervous system via intermittent electric pulses to control seizures.

It is not covered by public health