Since its introduction to clinical medicine in the 1980s, MRI has revolutionized many areas of medicine. Epilepsy is no exception. High quality MR imaging of the brain remains an essential pre-requisite to understanding a patient’s epilepsy – why a patient might have epilepsy, where in the brain it may be located, and what type of pathology a region of abnormality might represent. At UF Health, high field strength (3 tesla) MR imaging is performed in all patients with epilepsy. For complex patients who are surgical candidates, the images are re-reviewed in a live conference format by dedicated neuroradiologists and discussed with the entire epilepsy management team. The MRI findings, in turn, are an important component of the multi-modality data set that guides the selection of specific surgical or non-surgical treatments offered.
Information for patients
Brain scans are an extremely important part of epilepsy testing. Whether you are a patient who comes to our clinic and is never admitted to hospital, or a patient who may spend time in hospital for detailed testing or treatment, your doctor will request a brain MRI. MRI allows doctors to get precise information about where the seizure disorder may originate in the brain. An abnormal scan – which may show an unusual appearance in one or more brain regions, such as a scar in the hippocampus – give a lot of information on the type of seizure disorder, and also how that seizure disorder can be treated. The scan itself consists of lying still within the MRI machine for about an hour, sometimes less. MRI machines are noisy, and patients are provided earplugs and may listen to music while the scan takes place. The results of the scan are then communicated to your treatment team, who will discuss them with you.