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Epilepsy Health Center

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Tests Before Epilepsy Surgery

What Is Brain Mapping?

Brain mapping is a technique to create a computer-generated image of how electrical activity is distributed across the brain. It enables the surgeon to "see" which areas of the brain are active during specific tasks, thus allowing the surgeon to protect vital areas of the brain during surgery.

Brain mapping may be done during surgery with the patient awake, using medication to keep the person relaxed and pain-free. This is done so that the patient can help the surgeon find and avoid areas of the brain responsible for vital functions. While the patient is awake, the doctor uses special probes to stimulate different areas of the brain. At the same time, the patient is asked to count, identify pictures, or perform other tasks. The surgeon can then identify the area of the brain associated with each task.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on July 15, 2014
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