Which imaging studies are recommended for the diagnosis of epileptic seizures?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Two studies are often recommended after a seizure: neuroimaging evaluation (eg, brain magnetic resonance imaging [MRI], head computed tomography [CT] scanning) and electroencephalography (EEG). For neuroimaging, a CT scan is often obtained in the emergency department to exclude an obvious structural lesion, but an MRI is indicated if the patient continues to have seizures. In addition, lumbar puncture for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination has a role in the patient with obtundation or in patients in whom meningitis, encephalitis, or subarachnoid hemorrhage is suspected.

Epileptic seizures have many causes, and some epileptic syndromes have specific histopathologic abnormalities. For more information, see the articles about specific epileptic syndromes listed in the Background section.

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