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Additional Imaging Tests for Epilepsy

Imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scan, are often done after a first seizure. And they are recommended in other situations.

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 needed.

Recommended Related to Epilepsy

Understanding Epilepsy -- Diagnosis and Treatment

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...

Read the Understanding Epilepsy -- Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
Last Revised August 26, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 26, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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