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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.

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.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
Last Revised August 28, 2013

Last Revised: August 28, 2013

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