Epilepsy Testing

Doctor Checking a Form

How do 
neurologists and epileptologists test for epilepsy?

Once a seizure takes place, neurologists and epileptologists may recommend a variety of tests.  They are looking for clues that can tell them where in your brain the seizures are taking place. This helps them determine what they need to do to help reduce or stop your seizures.

First, you will have a complete physical and neurological exam. During that time, they ask about your seizure history:

  • Can you describe what happened?

  • Where were you when it happened?

  • What were you doing before the seizure took place?

  • What happened during the seizure?

  • How long did it last?

  • How did you feel after the seizure?

  • Did you injure yourself during the seizure?

Providing accurate and detailed answers to those specific questions, in addition to the exam, can help doctors determine the next steps.

They will also ask any loved ones who may have witnessed the seizure to describe what they saw. For family members, the questions are similar to the ones above. Providing accurate details, or a video of the seizure, can help the doctors make a more accurate diagnosis.

 

Right before or after the exam, they may recommend a variety of tests to learn more about your seizures. These may include:

An MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging, takes pictures of your brain to help discover if there is any scar tissue or other abnormalities that might be causing seizures.

After any of those tests are performed, your epileptologist will meet with you to let you know what they have discovered and what the next steps will be specifically for your case. Please note that what works for one person will not necessarily work for another as seizures can be different, can come from different places in your brain, and respond differently to medications. Make sure to ask your doctor any questions you have about the test results.

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