Testing & Diagnostics
Epilepsy testing often includes an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure electrical activity in your brain and try to locate the source of seizures. Seizures cause unusual waves of electric activity in the brain, and the source of these waves can be measured by an EEG.
During a routine EEG, you can lie down on a comfortable bed. A technician will paste electrodes (small metal disks) on your head. These are connected to the EEG machine.
When the test starts, you will need to keep very still and keep your eyes closed. The technologist may ask you to take deep breaths and show you flashing lights. At the end of the test, the electrodes will be removed, and the paste wiped off. A routine EEG lasts about 60 to 90 minutes.
An ambulatory EEG may take one to four days. During an ambulatory EEG, the technologist will put small metal disks on your scalp. Once the EEG electrodes are in place, your head will be wrapped with a conforming bandage to make sure the EEG wires remain secure.
Wires connect the disks with a small computer that you will keep with you at home. You will receive instructions about what you should and should not do during the test.
A remote monitoring technologist will log in and remotely check the integrity of the recording throughout the duration of the study. The technologist may call you if they notice a problem with the electrodes’ connectivity or if the laptop signal is lost.
You will receive a log to write down anything unusual that occurs during the test. It is very important to write the date, time and a brief description of unusual events or symptoms. At the end of the test, electrodes will be removed and the paste wiped off.
Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
The EMU at UI Health uses the latest technology to diagnose, monitor, and treat epilepsy. The state-of-the-art equipment allows our team of epilepsy specialists to monitor a patient’s brain activity and body movements around the clock to provide the best diagnosis and treatment plan.
Some patient’s epilepsy syndrome may involve the use of invasive EEG recordings before epilepsy surgery can be considered. Invasive EEG recordings are done to better localize the region of the brain from which the epilepsy is arising from.
Our program utilizes state-of-the-art advanced neuroimaging techniques to monitor and capture data for patients with epilepsy. Our neuroimaging techniques include the following:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI)
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
- WADA Test