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Phase 1: Preliminary Tests

This testing is done either to more clearly define your epilepsy, or in preparation for surgery.

You will usually stay in the hospital for five to seven days. During that time

  • You will be admitted to a private room in the Neuroscience unit of the hospital.
  • We will obtain a detailed seizure history and determine your medication levels.
  • Non-invasive gold discs will be placed on your scalp to record the electrical activity of your brain during an electroencephalogram (EEG).
  • You may have neuropsychological tests (see below) to help find the affected area of your brain.
  • A psychiatrist may see you to help determine how epilepsy affects your quality of life.
  • You may be taken off your anticonvulsant medication to promote seizures. Three or more seizures are recorded on video and EEG. Before you leave, you will go back on medication. If all appropriate medications fail, your doctor will consider surgery.
  • If you do not have at least one seizure after a week, you may be discharged and readmitted later.
  • In some cases, you may be able to take portable EEG equipment home with you for a period of time.

Neuropsychological testing

Neuropsychological testing is often helpful in locating the part of the brain that may be causing seizures.

These pen-and-paper tests measure motor skills, language abilities, and memory, and can take four to six hours to complete. They can be done in one day or over several days.

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