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What Is Benign Rolandic Epilepsy?

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What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Benign Rolandic Epilepsy?

When seizures are mild and only occur during sleep, benign rolandic epilepsy can easily go undiagnosed. Often, parents bring a child to the doctor after a tonic-clonic seizure during sleep.

Doctors diagnose benign rolandic epilepsy based on the pattern of seizures. They also gather information from multiple tests:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): By attaching a set of adhesive electrodes to the scalp, a technician records brain waves during this painless test. A neurologist interprets the EEG. Children with benign rolandic epilepsy often have spikes on their EEG tracings that help make the diagnosis.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This high-resolution scan of the brain is normal in children with benign rolandic epilepsy. Getting an MRI is noisy and can cause anxiety, but it's painless.
  • Neurologic exam: Children with benign rolandic epilepsy generally have a normal neurologic exam.

What Are the Treatments for Benign Rolandic Epilepsy?

Often in benign rolandic epilepsy, no treatment is needed or recommended. Seizures in benign rolandic epilepsy are usually mild, harmless, and infrequent. Virtually all children outgrow the condition.

Children might benefit from treatment if they're having any of these problems related to benign rolandic epilepsy:

  • learning difficulties
  • problems thinking or concentrating
  • behavior problems
  • daytime seizures
  • frequent seizures

Anti-seizure medications like Tegretol (carbamazepine), Trileptal (oxcarbazepine), or Neurontin (gabapentin) are most often prescribed to treat benign rolandic epilepsy. In some studies, treatment reduced tonic-clonic seizures, but facial seizures continued.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on April 18, 2015
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