Atlantic Neuroscience Institute’s Epilepsy Center at Overlook Medical Center offers specialized health care services for those patients who have been seen by a primary care physician and need additional diagnostic services for epilepsy and seizures. Patients are typically referred for one of the following reasons:
- A diagnosis of epilepsy is unclear
- A diagnosis of a seizure disorder has been given by the patient’s primary care physician, but the type of epilepsy has not been definitively established
- Treatment with medication has not been totally successful
- The patient has been seizure free for some time, and wishes to discontinue taking antiepileptic medication
At the Epilepsy Center, an epileptologist (a neurologist with specialty training in epilepsy) will take a complete medical history, perform a physical exam and review all relevant medical records. Typically, the patient’s diagnosis is clear-cut and treatment is initiated immediately. Some patients, however, may require additional testing:
- Routine electroencephalogram (EEG) – This routine outpatient procedure measures electrical activity in the brain. It is performed in our EEG lab and takes between 30 and 90 minutes.
- Video EEG monitoring – In some circumstances, a more prolonged EEG is needed to clarify a diagnosis. Video-EEG is an inpatient procedure in which EEG and video are recorded simultaneously to document seizures; they can be measured through both visual observation and electronic data. Activity between seizures is analyzed and can help determine the type of epilepsy a patient may have. Video-EEG usually takes three to four days to complete.
- Magnetoencephalography (MEG) – This completely noninvasive procedure uses an array of highly-sensitive sensors to detect and record the magnetic fields associated with electrical activity in the brain. For epilepsy patients, MEG enables physicians to localize, with precise accuracy, the location(s) where the epileptic activity originates. This information is invaluable in determining if you are a good candidate for surgery and also in planning the surgery itself, if necessary.
*Photo provided by Elekta AB.