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Imaging Tests for Epilepsy - Topic Overview

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 Absence Seizures -- Diagnosis and Treatment

If a seizure condition such as absence seizures is suspected, the doctor will begin by taking a thorough medical history, including information on any birth trauma, serious head injury, or infections of the brain such as encephalitis or meningitis. Brain function can be "viewed" with an electroencephalograph, or EEG, which detects the electrochemical relay of information from brain cell to brain cell. EEGs will show characteristic, abnormal patterns during different types of seizures, including...

Read the Understanding Absence Seizures -- 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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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