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.
The Children’s Epilepsy Surgery Service (CESS) in England is a specialist service that aims to improve the quality of epilepsy brain surgery available for children. It does this by reviewing children with difficult to control epilepsy, to see if they would benefit from epilepsy surgery.
The CESS is funded by NHS England for children with epilepsy in England. There are 4 specialist CESS centres that will treat children from all over England, not just those in their local area.
Each CESS centre has an expert team of surgeons, doctors, healthcare professionals and specialist facilities needed for epilepsy brain surgery.
Around 340 children each year could benefit from epilepsy brain surgery. This surgery is done to help reduce, or even completely stop seizures.
Children aged 6 years and over will have their surgery at one of the CESS centres. Children aged 5 years and younger will have their surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust or Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Here are some children talking about their epilepsy surgery.
The CESS centres
- Birmingham Children's Hospital
- Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London
- Department of Paediatric Neurology, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
- The Northern Children’s Epilepsy Surgery Services (NorCESS) Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (Liverpool) and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
Although CESS is funded by NHS England, it will also treat children who live in Wales but are registered with a GP in England. And they will provide services for children or families in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland if their child lives or goes to school in England.
Other children from Wales and Northern Ireland will be referred to the CESS centres for assessment. This is arranged on an individual basis by the local consultant paediatrician or neurologist.
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
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 Prof. Richard Appleton, honorary professor in paediatric neurology and Dr Tim Martland, consultant paediatric neurologist at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Lead Clinician for NorCESS for their contributions.
Prof. Appleton and Dr Martland have declared no conflict of interest.
This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.
- Updated May 2017To be reviewed May 2020