Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel Bielefeld
Department of Epileptology (303791)
Christian G. Bien
Specialized in: epileptology
The Department of Epileptology (the Epilepsy Center Bethel at the Hospital Mara), headed by Prof. Dr. med. Christian G. Bien, is the biggest institution for treatment and healthcare for patients with epilepsies in Germany. Annually, more than 5,000 people from all over Europe receive diagnosis and treatment procedures here. The Center includes facilities for social rehabilitation, an information center for children and adolescents with epilepsy and their family members, a professional training center for young adolescents, research facilities as well as various departments of epilepsy at the Hospital Mara.
The Epilepsy Center Bethel offers epileptic treatment, consultations and clinical researches with all possibilities “from a single source”. Patients of all ages (children, adolescents and adults) benefit here from the entire diagnostic and therapeutic range of services of the modern epileptology. There are outpatient and inpatient options available: from the epileptic diagnosis (with a special focus on autoimmune epilepsies) to the pre-surgical diagnosis and surgical epilepsy therapy, from the behavioural medical and psychotherapeutic epileptology to the rehabilitation.
A decisive focus of the Epilepsy Center Bethel is on pre-surgical intensive diagnosis and epileptic surgery. Here, children and adolescents with the following indications can be treated: seizures, which cannot be treated sufficiently through the medication alone, seizures, emanating from a defined area of the brain (focal epilepsy), unclear seizure diagnosis (differential diagnosis) as well as vagus nerve stimulation. The surgical treatment of epilepsy consists in removing the seizure origin. Seizure medicines must also be taken initially after a successful operation. Postoperative follow-up treatment in the rehabilitation clinic is possible for patients from the age of 16 years. Children and adolescents will be referred to other clinics.
For children and adults there are in each case a multidisciplinary team from the fields of medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, (neuro) psychology, social work and counseling – headed by Prof. Dr. med. Christian G. Bien. The employees of the Center will support you in taking the decision for or against surgery. They will also support you after surgery and help to achieve an optimal adaptation to the new situation.
In the field of pediatric epileptology at the Epilepsy Center Bethel, small children, children and adolescents up to the age of 18 are treated.
The pediatric epileptology at the Epilepsy Center Bethel offers treatment for patients with the following clinical pictures:
- With frequent seizures associated with a longtime epilepsy, treated unsatisfactory
- In which seizures have occurred newly
- With seizures, the type and origin of which are unclear (e.g., paroxysmal disorders, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures)
- With side effects of antiepileptic medication
- With seizures and additional comorbidities
- With developmental disorders associated with epilepsy or medication
With regard to diagnosis and treatment of patients with seizures, the Epilepsy Center Bethel is one of leading institutions in Germany. The latest scientific findings and the state-of-the-art technologies are applied in the Epilepsy Center Bethel in order to heal patients with difficult cases of epilepsy.
The diagnostic possibilities at the Epilepsy Center Bethel include i.a.:
- Practical nursing diagnostics
- MRI – magnetic resonance imaging
- PET / SPECT
- Examinations of drug level in the blood
- Neuropsychological diagnosis
- Social anamnesis
In the area of treatment, there are numerous methods available at the Epilepsy Center Bethel. One of the options is the medication treatment, where the primary goal is to treat with a single medicine. In this so-called monotherapy, the dose of the antiepileptic is constantly increased until no more seizures occur or the tolerance limits are reached. Monotherapy is usually better tolerated than combination treatments. As the experience shows, a timely competent treatment has very good chances of seizure-freedom.
Another treatment option is surgery. A necessary precondition for epilepsy surgery is preoperative diagnostics, in which possibilities and the procedure of the operation is defined. The actual surgical intervention is the removal of brain tissue, in which the seizures have their origin. In most patients, the operation allows the patient to achieve seizure-freedom. Brain areas, which are responsible for important functions (e.g., language, memory), is spared as much as possible. In young children, major interventions are often necessary, which include cross-brain areas.
Generally, the range of therapeutic services for people with epilepsy at the Epilepsy Center Bethel primarily comprises the following treatment options:
- Medication treatment
- Epilepsy surgical treatment
- Vagus nerve stimulation
- Ketogenic diet
- Occupational therapy
- Sports and physiotherapy
The major focuses of the Department of Epileptology at the Epilepsy Center Bethel under the lead of Prof. Dr. med. Christian G. Bien:
- Preoperative intensive diagnosis and epilepsy surgery
- Pediatric epileptology
- Young adults with epilepsy
- General epileptology
- Behavioural medical and psychotherapeutic epileptology
- Bielefeld, Germany