Neuroimaging

In order to reach a diagnosis, one or more tests may be ordered to help your physician provide you with the best treatment options. For more information, click the name of the test below to learn more.

Epilepsy Protocol MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans may be performed to look for any growths, scarring, or other conditions in the brain that may be causing seizures. Epilepsy Protocol MRI is done at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Central DuPage Hospital and Lake Forest Hospital.

Functional MRI

Functional MRI (fMRI) is a brain scan that evaluates the structure of the brain that is responsible for movement or sensation activity. The person will be asked to look at pictures, listen to sounds, or squeeze a ball during the scan, and the image will highlight the area of the brain engaged with the task. Functional MRI is done at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Central DuPage Hospital.

Brain PET

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan shows the brain's use of oxygen or sugar (glucose). A very low, safe dose of a radioactive substance is injected into a vein in the arm, and the scanner records its circulation.

The image shows areas of the brain that are more active than others. This test can help identify the area(s) of the brain where partial seizures begin. Brain PET is done at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Ictal SPECT

Ictal SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) is a scan that shows the blood flow in the brain and used to locate the site where the seizure begins.

A very low, safe dose of a radioactive substance is injected into a vein in the arm as soon as possible after a seizure begins. The scan is performed soon afterward. An image is produced which highlights the area of greatest blood flow during the seizure. Ictal SPECT is done at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Wada

Wada test is performed during a brain angiogram to determine which side of the brain is responsible for language and memory. A medicine will be injected to put one side of the brain asleep at a time. The patient is asked to read and talk during the exam. Wada testing is done at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Learn what to expect during Wada testing.

Magneto-encephalography (MEG)

Magneto-encephalography (MEG) measures electrical currents in the brain. MEG is similar to an EEG, but is much more accurate.

When it is combined with MRI, it is extremely helpful in identifying areas of the brain where a seizure begins.

MEG requires an outside referral.