Tuesday, May 16, 2017

MRI Before Epilepsy Surgery Can Help Protect The Brain from Damage

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that makes use of large magnets and radio frequencies to produce a highly detailed image of the body’s inner workings. It can be used to take images of various parts of the body, including the brain.

A functional MRI of the brain is used to determine where exactly in the brain certain functions—such as memory, speech, or muscle movement—occurs. By determining the exact location of the functional area of the brain, physicians can map out the proper treatment for a particular brain disorder.

Researchers are now looking at this particular ability of the MRI to see if it can help epilepsy patients undergoing surgery. Epilepsy patients are often recommended to undergo surgery if medication fails to control seizure activity. According to a recent study by the American Academy of Neurology, MRI scans may be a safer and less invasive alternative to another commonly used procedure, the Wada test.

Before epileptic brain surgery, the doctors must first map the brain to protect critical brain areas responsible for language and memory from damage during surgery. Traditionally, physicians employ the Wada test for this, which is an invasive procedure that involves injecting medication into the carotid artery in the neck. This puts one side of the brain to sleep. Unfortunately, it also leads to all sorts of discomfort.

As MRI technology improves and becomes more widespread and cost-effective, researchers wanted to find out how it compares to the Wada test. Physicians want to look for better alternatives to the latter because the risks associated with Wada, although rare, can be serious. After the comparative study, researchers concluded that the results are quite promising. However, they are quick to suggest larger studies need be conducted to increase the quality of available evidence.


MRI scans before surgery help to protect brain,

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