The Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scan provides information about blood flow to the brain. Blood flow to an area of the brain increases during a seizure and can decrease before or after a seizure. This scan produces images using a radioactive tracer and a special camera.
An EEG measures and records the brain’s electrical activity. Special sensors (electrodes) are attached to the head and hooked by wires to a computer that records the brain’s electrical activity. An EEG technician conducts the test, which can be done in a hospital or in a doctor’s office, and a neurologist reads the results. Approximately 3,500 studies are performed each year.
An ECoG uses sensors that are surgically implanted on the brain to record brain activity. ECoG is considered the “gold standard” for detecting an epilepsy episode.
fMRI is a type of MRI that produces images of the brain in action. The scan captures images of the brain while you perform specific tasks that involve thinking, speaking and moving, allowing your doctor to see which part of the brain is at work.
An MRI is a scan that can detect growths, such as a tumor, or scarring, that can cause a seizure.
This assessment measures your memory and ability to learn and comprehend. The testing can help identify areas of the brain that aren’t functioning normally. Neuropsychological testing is used before and after surgery to evaluate potential risks of the surgery based on where the seizures occur in the brain.
A PET scan shows blood flow and how the brain uses sugar (glucose), measuring changes in the brain’s metabolism and chemistry.
This testing is 24-hour EEG monitoring of the brain during seizures, and videotaping of the symptoms of the seizures. The testing is performed in our inpatient Epilepsy Monitoring Unit over several days. The results help doctors determine whether all of the seizures originate in one part of the brain, and pinpoint where the seizures begin. The test also records brain activity between seizures.
The WADA test looks at language and memory on one side of the brain at a time. A doctor injects medication through a catheter to put one side of the brain to sleep. Your doctor will ask you to identify pictures and objects while one side of your brain is asleep and after the drug has worn off. The process is repeated on the other side of your brain.
The WADA pinpoints where speech, thinking and memory functions are in the brain. The test helps determine if surgery is an option to control seizures and if so, plan the surgery to avoid further problems with speech and memory.