UCSF specialists have a long history of pioneering imaging, medical and surgical techniques that are changing what is possible for patients with epilepsy. Designated a level 4 epilepsy center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, our comprehensive program takes advantage of all the latest diagnostic and treatment options.

According to the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, UCSF performs more epilepsy surgeries than any other hospital or medical center in the West. Surgical specialties include traditional open procedures for focal resections and disconnection procedures, as well as awake surgery, which optimizes both precision and patient safety through the use of advanced, interoperative brain mapping, which identifies and avoids injury to sites of language, motor and sensory function.

UCSF Neurosurgery also offers several minimally invasive approaches, including:

  • Gamma Knife radiosurgery, a radiation therapy technique that precisely delivers a single, finely focused, high dose of radiation to well-defined, small targets in the brain.
  • Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG), a procedure that is used to identify areas of the brain where epileptic seizures originate. 
  • Vagus nerve stimulation, a procedure where a small electric stimulator is placed near the vagus nerve to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures when medications aren’t effective.
  • Visualase thermal laser ablation, also known as laser interstitial thermal therapy, or LITT. We are among the few centers in the country with deep experience in this technique and have published journal articles that describe its use in standard focal resections for temporal lobe and hippocampus epilepsies, as well as in rare conditions such as hypothalamic hamartoma.

We also are world leaders in the use of responsive neural stimulation (RNS), in which an implantable device detects seizure-related electrical activity in the brain and responds immediately by delivering imperceptible levels of electrical stimulation to normalize brain activity and stop seizures just as they are about to start. Our RNS patients have had an average seizure reduction of 80 percent, surpassing the 48 percent to 66 percent seizure reduction reported in long-term clinical trials.

Basic science research in the Department focuses on the molecular, electrophysiological and genetic basis of epilepsy, as well as identifying new therapies, such as interneuron cell transplantation, and phenotype-based drug discovery using zebrafish models for Dravet syndrome and other pediatric genetic epilepsies.



Adult Neurological Surgery

Edward Chang, MD


Mariann Ward, NP, MS

Pediatric Neurological Surgery

Kurtis Auguste, MD
Jarod Roland, MD


Scott C. Baraban, PhD



Adult Epilepsy Surgery Program

400 Parnassus Ave, 8th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
tel (415) 353-2241

Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program

400 Parnassus Ave, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
tel (415) 353-2342