Dr. Ammar Kheder, an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Penn Medicine and Director of the Stereoencephalography Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. His clinical expertise include epilepsy surgery, multimodal investigations in epilepsy patients, intracranial EEG monitoring, brain mapping, brain connectivity, and seizure semiology.
What is your role at the Penn Epilepsy Center?
I am the director of the Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) and the intracranial monitoring program at Penn Epilepsy Center.
What is Stereotactic EEG and why might an epilepsy patient benefit from it?
Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to identify regions of the brain where epileptic seizures come from. Electrodes (thin wires) are placed in brain areas then recordings are made and studied to precisely identify the focus of the epilepsy which could potentially be treatable with surgery, laser ablation or neurostimulation device. SEEG enables us to study the brain activity in three dimensional space compared to the older methods which involve craniotomy like grids and strips, which are placed directly on the surface of the brain.
It is particularly helpful for patients who have difficult to treat epilepsy. In addition, due to its minimally invasive nature, it is safer and better tolerated. Patients are likely to have less pain and better wound healing.
What is the most exciting thing about being a part of the Penn Epilepsy Center?
It is great to be part of collaborative team of outstanding doctors, nurses and other health professionals who put patient care first. Our team utilizes the most advanced techniques and tools to deliver the best patient care and health outcomes. The team is also committed to conducting high quality research which will benefit our patients and epilepsy patients across the globe.
What is your philosophy on patient care?
I believe that every patient is a unique human being who needs comprehensive personalized care. This entails understanding the impact of epilepsy and its treatment on each patient. In addition, it involves shared decision making with patients and their families to achieve the best health outcomes and improve the quality of life.
What kinds of research will you be involved with at Penn?
My research interest is centered around understanding brain networks involved in various epilepsies using data from seizure video analysis (semiology) as well as brain imaging and SEEG. This will help identify new techniques and methods to better target particular networks.
What do you do outside of practicing medicine?
I enjoy being outdoors, music, art, reading, traveling and cooking.