× COVID-19 Vaccine Updates: View the latest information.

Call Us 866.600.CARE


Advanced Neuroimaging

MRI

This scan can help identify tumors, lesions, or other problems that might be causing seizures. At UI Health, we use a specific epilepsy protocol high field 3T MRI scanner for the evaluation of all epilepsy patients. 

How to prepare for an MRI:

  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Remove any metal objects on your body or clothes.
  • Continue taking your usual medications unless otherwise instructed.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI)

This test looks at the brain while you are resting or performing a task. An FMRI localizes the part of the brain that is involved in the task. During this exam, you will be asked to perform various language tasks in the scanner, such as completing a sentence.

How to prepare for an FMRI:

  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Remove any metal objects on your body or clothes.
  • Continue taking your usual medications unless otherwise instructed.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

This test monitors the areas of your brain that are using energy at higher or lower rates. During this test, we will try to locate those areas of your brain using less energy. This indicates that your brain is not working properly in those areas and is the likely area causing your seizures.

How to prepare for a PET Scan:

  • Do not eat or drink anything besides plain water for 4 – 6 hours before the test.
  • Eat a low-carbohydrate diet the day before the test.
  • Refrain from exercise for 2 days before the test.
  • Tell your doctor if you think you may be pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Before going into the scanner, you will receive an injection of a tracer. A PET takes about 30 minutes, but prepare to be there for 2 to 3 hours.

Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)

A SPECT procedure shows areas of your brain that have higher or lower blood flow. More blood flow means that your brain is using more energy. For this test, you will have a small amount of tracer injected into your blood to help trace your blood flow.

SPECT is typically used when other imaging or EEG testing does not adequately localize the region of seizure onset.

How to prepare for a SPECT Procedure:

  • Do not eat or drink anything other than plain water for 4 to 6 hours before the test
  • Tell your doctor if you think you may be pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Wada Test

The Wada test tells your doctor what side of your brain controls memory and language, which determines whether you are eligible for certain types of epilepsy surgery.

Wada testing is only used in cases where neuropsychological testing and FMRI do not provide enough information regarding the side of the brain that supports language and verbal memory function.

How to prepare for a Wada Test:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your test.
  • Take your medications as normal