When it comes to testing children for epilepsy and other seizure disorders, we offer premier diagnostic services. Our epilepsy center is acknowledged by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a level 4 epilepsy center - the highest designation possible.
We specialize in neurodiagnostic monitoring, neuropsychological and psychosocial evaluations for a wide array of epilepsy conditions [link to conditions page] and syndromes. Our pediatric epilepsy monitoring unit uses the most advanced, seizure detecting, equipment in South Texas.
Children who have seizures should undergo testing as soon as possible. A delay in diagnosis and treatment can be harmful to your child’s safety, cognitive abilities and quality of life. If seizures are not reduced or controlled, further evaluation should be explored. Memory loss, brain damage or other developmental problems may result if seizures go untreated.
Our medical team at the South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (STCEC) is made up of epileptologists, neurosurgeons, stereotactic neurosurgeons, EEG technicians, neuropsychologists, skilled nurses and many other clinicians certified in the assessment and care of epileptic children. Early diagnosis and treatment [link to treatment page] of epilepsy preserves and protects your child’s neurological health.
In our pediatric unit, we work with day-old infants, teenagers and all ages in between. Some of our patients undergo EEG video monitoring in our high-tech epilepsy monitory unit. Our state-of-the-art, pediatric monitoring unit allows us to gather detailed and accurate information enabling our neurologists to make the best treatment decisions possible.
Our testing and diagnostic monitoring is tailored to meet the needs of children with uncontrollable seizures. Activity within the brain is complicated and many factors must be taken into account. Detailed and valuable information that EEG video monitoring provides can result in correcting a wrong diagnosis, direct a parent to a more effective medication or determine the need for surgery.
Advanced technology is used to observe and record data during and in between seizures. It reveals what area of the brain is being affected and the intensity or degree of the unusual electrical activity within the brain. We use sophisticated imaging studies to help determine where the overactive electrical surges originate, in some cases caused by a lesion on the brain.
Testing is done to see if surgery will benefit the patient. Tests are conducted to figure out the type of seizure a child is experiencing. After pediatric neurologists and EEG technicians observe a controlled seizure within the epilepsy monitoring unit, test results are recorded and analyzed. This crucial information plays an important role in helping our physicians decide which type of surgery will help your child most.
Some pre-surgical evaluation tests can be completed in an outpatient clinic. When appropriate, a blood test may be done to check for infection, genetic or other factors or conditions that may be a contributing cause of the unexplained seizures. Additional tests are done in our epilepsy monitoring unit or EEG lab.
Our epilepsy center provides numerous diagnostic imaging scans to help neurosurgeons pinpoint the location of seizures within the brain. Some of the tests we provide, include:
A video EEG test records and shows on video what the patient is doing while an EEG test records impulses and brain wave activity. Doctors are able to see what the patient is doing, saying or what they sound like during a seizure. This information is compared to the data being collected by the EEG test that’s displayed on monitors simultaneously. Video EEG is most helpful to determine if seizures with unusual features are actually epilepsy.
An ECoG procedure records electrical activity from the cerebral cortex. Sometimes it’s called an intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG). It’s a type of electrophysiological monitoring in which electrodes are placed directly on the exposed surface of the brain to record electrical activity from the cerebral cortex.
An EEG test records the electrical activity (brain waves) in a patient. Electrodes and wires are attached to the scalp connected to an EEG machine. Existing and changing electrical activity is shown as traces on a monitor which correspond to various parts of the brain.
An fMRI test is a form of brain mapping and measures brain activity by analyzing blood flow changes usually when a patient is performing a task. When a certain area of the brain is being used, blood flow to that area increases. The test identifies regions within the brain that are connected to speaking, moving, planning, etc. Results from an fMRI help neurologists evaluate how risky brain surgery would be for a patient
An MRI is considered one of the most important neuroimaging tests for a pediatric epilepsy patient because it reveals details of the brain’s structure.
An MRI shows scar tissue, areas of abnormal brain development, brain tumors, blood vessel abnormalities and even changes in white matter. It makes images of the brain by using strong magnetic field and pulses of radio waves.
A neurophychological test for children with epilepsy includes a series of tests that measure different functions within the brain, such as language, memory, perception or attention. Each function is carried out by certain areas within the brain. By conducting this test a neuropsychologist can help to identify which area of the brain is not working properly and may be helpful in pinpointing where the seizures are located.
A PET scan shows how the brain uses oxygen or sugar. A safe dose of radioactive substance is injected into the arm and a scanner records how it travels through the brain. This test can be particularly helpful to children who may have a type of focal seizure. It helps to show where the seizures are starting.
A SPECT test is a nuclear study that measures blood flow in the brain. During a seizure blood flow increases to the area where the seizure comes from. The SPECT test is extremely helpful in determining where the seizures are starting in the brain.
A SEEG test is an advanced surgical procedure involving a framework of electrodes placed on a patient’s head to identify where a seizure is coming from or originating. Grids are created with rows of electrodes to help pinpoint the source of the seizure. It allows doctors to target the overactive area of the brain causing the seizures and the SEEG is especially helpful to those patients who previously were unable to determine the origin of their seizures.
A Wada test is frequently done after results are obtained from a Video EEG. Technically, the test is called an intracarotid sodium amobarbital procedure (ISAP), most commonly called the Wada test, named after the neurologist who first performed this test to determine which side of the brain was responsible for language function. This test today, can also indicate which side of the brain is mainly responsible for making and recalling memories.