MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a diagnostic imaging tool that identifies structural changes in the brain that may cause seizures or be associated with epilepsy.
What does an MRI show for seizures?
When you have your first seizure, an MRI can be used to look for abnormalities, such as an unusual collection of blood vessels, scar tissue, or tumors, that caused the event. An MRI can also gather information to help your doctor understand whether the seizure has affected your entire brain at the same time (generalized onset), was pinpointed a specific spot (focal onset) or had an unknown origin.
With these details, your doctor can determine if medication, dietary changes, noninvasive procedures or surgery is the right solution to manage your condition. If surgery is the best solution, MRI scans can also help your doctor design an effective surgical strategy that removes the source of the seizures and spares the appropriate amount of tissue.
How does an MRI work?
An MRI scan relies on the use of magnetic fields and radio waves to capture two- or three-dimensional images of your brain’s structure. The images gathered during an MRI are highly accurate and detailed.
Being able to look at brain structures is important for the treatment of patients with seizures or epilepsy in several distinct ways:
- After the first seizure, MRI can be used to identify any serious disorder that may have caused the seizure, such as a brain tumor or a blood vessel abnormality (arteriovenous malformation).
- It can help determine the proper seizure type and syndrome. For example, partial onset seizures that secondarily generalize rapidly can be misinterpreted as primary generalized seizures. If MRI shows a structural lesion that is the likely source of the seizures, then they can be correctly classified as partial in nature. This classification often is crucial for the best treatment.
Other brain scans for seizures
Your doctor may also choose to utilize a CT scan if you have a seizure. This type of scan uses X-ray technology to capture images of tissue, helping your doctor detect abnormalities in your brain that could be causing seizures.
If you are managing a seizure disorder, MRI scans are the most accurate way to detect a brain tumor in many situations, but CT scans, which are faster, can be the best option in an emergency situation. CT scans can also be helpful if you have metal implants or medical devices that make MRI difficult to perform. Other brain scans that your doctor may consider include functional MRI scans, PET scans, and single-photon emission CT scans.
To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.