Imaging tests, such as
CT scan, are often done after a first
seizure. And they are recommended in other
An MRI or CT scan may be done immediately if you had a seizure along
with confusion or new motor or sensory problems that did not improve soon
after the seizure ended. Ongoing headache or fever,
AIDS, recent head trauma, cancer, or
anticoagulant therapy also increases the likelihood
that the seizure was related to a serious brain problem. The nature of the
seizure and your age can also help determine whether an imaging test is
To diagnose epilepsy, your doctor will take a detailed medical history (including a family history of seizures), gather information about your behavior before, during, and after the episode, and do a physical exam. Make sure someone who witnessed the seizure goes to the doctor with you.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) -- a brain wave study -- can reveal abnormal brain waves characteristic of epilepsy and sleep deprivation. Keeping someone awake for 24 hours increases the chances of finding abnormalities...
Imaging tests may be used before epilepsy surgery to find the exact
location of a problem in the brain. Because scans are able to detect brain lesions,
they can also be helpful in deciding whether it is safe to stop treatment with
medicine. The presence of lesions increases your risk of having seizures if you
stop taking medicine.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
August 26, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 26, 2011
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