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Children’s Epilepsy Surgery Service (CESS) in England

These pages are about surgery in the UK. If you are looking for information about surgery in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.

About CESS

The Children’s Epilepsy Surgery Service in England aims to improve the quality of epilepsy brain surgery available for children. It also aims to review more children, to see if they would benefit from epilepsy surgery.

Around 340 children each year could benefit from epilepsy brain surgery. This surgery is done to help reduce, or even completely stop seizures. Since the introduction of the CESS service the number of children who have had surgery on their brain to treat their epilepsy has increased from about 110 to over 300.

Children aged 5 years and under, should have their surgery done at one of 4 specialist CESS centres. For children aged 6 years and over, it may be done at a CESS centre, or locally. However, only some types of epilepsy surgery can be done locally. Also, all children that have surgery locally should have been discussed with a CESS centre.

This information looks at what is involved before, during and after epilepsy brain surgery. If your child is already being considered for surgery, the CESS centre will be able to give you more information, and answer any questions you have.

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The CESS centres

  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London
  • Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (Liverpool) with Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NorCESS)

The 4 centres will treat children from all over England, not just those in their local area.

Contact details for the CESS centres

If you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales

The CESS is funded by NHS England and is for children living in England. If you live in Northern Ireland you will be able to have your assessment and surgery at NorCESS. If you live in Scotland or Wales and your child is being considered for epilepsy brain surgery, there are a number of options as to where they might be referred. Your child’s epilepsy specialist will discuss this with you. It will still be one of the CESS centres.

Each CESS centre has an expert team of surgeons, doctors, healthcare professionals, and specialist facilities needed for epilepsy brain surgery.

Epilepsy Action has a children's website.

If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone on 0808 800 5050.



Epilepsy Action wishes to thank Dr Richard Appleton, consultant paediatric neurologist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, UK, for his contribution.

Dr Appleton has no conflict of interest.

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated May 2016
    To be reviewed May 2019

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