The following diagnostic procedures determine if surgical treatment for epileptic seizures is necessary. These procedures are used to assist a physician in evaluating the cause of a patient’s seizures and locate the origin of the seizures within the brain. After a procedure, a patient remains within the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) for observation.
Neuropsychological testing usually consists of a battery of psychological tests which are designed to quantitatively measure a patient's cognitive abilities as they relate to the normal or abnormal functioning of different brain structures. For example, impaired memory may indicate an abnormality in the function of a part of the brain called the temporal lobe. It also may entail a specialized testing of audiological processing to assess verbal processing and comprehension. This testing is done before most Epilepsy surgeries (usually the day of a pre wada for prospective temporal lobectomy patients) and about a year after surgery for a post surgical assessment.
Patients with epilepsy occasionally suffer from memory problems or other cognitive difficulties, such as with the ability to come up with the correct word to use in a conversation. These problems may result from repeated seizures or from a brain disease which is causing the patient's seizures. Under these circumstances patients may benefit from a quantitative assessment of their cognitive abilities in order to gain insight into the severity and perhaps the cause of their seizures.
In the special circumstance in which a patient is being evaluated for surgical treatment of their epilepsy, neuropsychological testing may provide information about the parts of the brain from which the patient's seizures are being generated. Since recurrent seizures over long periods of time may interfere with brain function, neuropsychological testing is used to detect which parts of the brain are not functioning normally, in order to locate the origin of the patient's seizures within the brain. This information is then used in conjunction with other tests to decide what parts of the brain should be removed to prevent further seizures.
Neuro Psych Preparation: Get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast and wear comfortable clothing.
For more information, request an appointment at the Johns Hopkins Epilepsy Center.