For a child who is having epilepsy surgery, several tests may need to be done as part of the clinical assessment. EpLink researcher Dr. Elysa Widjaja and senior neurodiagnostic technologist Rohit Sharma have put together an information booklet to help parents navigate the different tests that may be required before surgery. Some of these are routine and non-invasive, such as electroencephalography (EEG). Other tests may require injecting dyes into the blood in order to see different areas of the brain more clearly. This booklet offers tips and information on how to prepare for things like a stay in the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU), and describes the possible risks of each test.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of tests, this booklet explains why each test is done and what doctors hope to find. For example, a regular MRI (magnetic resonance image) takes pictures of your child’s brain, while a functional MRI shows which parts of the brain are responsible for things like speaking or moving. Some of these tests are designed to identify the area in the brain where seizures are starting. Others try to locate the precise areas responsible for important functions like vision, sensation and hearing so that they can be avoided during surgery. Some tests need to be done while your child is having a seizure, and others are done in the time between seizures.
In addition, some cognitive tests will be done to learn more about how your child thinks. These tests help to determine if surgery may put your child at risk for language and memory problems. Your team will use these tests to measure things like intellectual reasoning abilities, working memory, vocabulary, problem-solving, processing speed, emotions and social-emotional well-being.
All of these tests aim to make your child’s epilepsy surgery as successful as possible. Click here to see the booklet.