What is an epilepsy MRI scan for the brain?
If you just started having seizures, your doctor may schedule you for an MRI scan for epilepsy. One way to figure out why you are having seizures is with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results of the epilepsy MRI could help figure out what kind of epilepsy you have.
An MRI machine is a strange-looking machine in which you lie down. You might be worried about the scan, but it doesn't hurt and is perfectly safe.
Here's all the information you need about MRIs and epilepsy.
MRI brain with epilepsy
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Brain With Epilepsy Protocol is a test that uses magnetic and radio waves to get a clear picture of how the brain is put together. The epilepsy protocol MRI is different from a regular brain MRI because the procedure is more focused on looking at the structural problems in the brain that could cause seizures.
This test looks for scar tissue, abnormal blood vessels, brain lesions, and changes in normal brain tissue that could cause seizures. Most people with epilepsy have jerking muscles, short periods of not being aware or losing consciousness, weakness, and anxiety.
MRI is a safe and painless way to look at the brain.
Epilepsy MRI vs normal MRI
MRI experts use many different methods to learn about different diseases. Some common tests for MRIs and epilepsy are:
- Functional MRI scans for epilepsy look at the flow of blood in the brain.
- Fiber tracking is a way to see how the brain is "wired."
- FLAIR is a method that helps find changes around the brain's edges.
How to get ready for your MRI for epilepsy
It can feel strange to go into an MRI machine. MRI machines make a lot of noise, so you might need to wear earplugs. The process usually takes at least 30 minutes, and you have to keep your head still so that the images don't get blurry. This can be kind of awkward.
Here's what you need to do to get ready for your MRI for epilepsy:
- Tell your doctor and the hospital technician if you have any metal implants because this could change how the machine works.
- Talk to the technician if you find being in small spaces stressful. They might be able to give you medicine to help you calm down.
- Take your seizure medicine as you normally would, and eat and sleep as usual.
- Wear clothes that are loose and comfortable and have no metal buttons or zippers.
- Don't wear earrings, makeup, or hearing aids.
- If you feel uncomfortable at any point during the procedure, you can press a button to talk to the technician.
What does an MRI do?
With Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a picture of the inside of any part of your body can be made. It uses a magnetic field and radio waves to make a picture of how muscles and organs are put together. MRIs also show how the body's fluids move around.
Why am I being given an MRI if I have epilepsy?
Sometimes, abnormalities or damage to the brain can lead to epilepsy. Among the things the MRI can show are:
- Head injuries cause damage to the brain.
- Brain growths
- Structural problems
- Problems with how blood moves through the brain's veins
- Sclerosis is when brain tissue gets stiff.
If your epilepsy MRI shows any of these problems, it will help your doctor figure out why you are having seizures.
An MRI scan for epilepsy is also used before surgery to remove a part of the brain that is causing seizures. The MRI will show the surgeon exactly what part of the brain they need to remove and how much.
Do MRI scans show up seizures?
No, it doesn't have to be. Your doctor may be able to figure out some of the possible structural causes of your seizures with the help of an MRI scan. But for many people with epilepsy, there is no structural cause, so the brain scan comes back as "normal."
Learn more about why people have seizures.
How safe is an MRI?
Yes, MRI scans are one of the safest kinds of medical tests. Even though they are loud and a little uncomfortable, you won't be in any danger.
What comes after the MRI test for epilepsy?
A radiographer and your neurologist will look at the epilepsy MRI results after the test is done. This information will be used to figure out what's going on with your seizures and figure out the best way to treat you.
Does epilepsy show on a brain scan?
What is MRI brain epilepsy protocol?
How long does an epilepsy MRI take?
What scan is best for epilepsy?