Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
Frontal lobe epilepsy can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms may be mistaken for psychiatric problems or sleep disorders, such as night terrors. Your doctor may suggest the following tests.
Brain scans. Frontal lobe seizures can be caused by tumors, vascular malformations or traumatic injuries. Brain imaging, usually MRI, may reveal the abnormality.
MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce very detailed images of soft tissues such as the brain. To undergo an MRI scan, you must lie on a narrow pallet that slides into a long tube. The test often takes about an hour to complete. Some people may feel claustrophobic inside MRI machines, although the test itself is painless.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG). An EEG monitors the electrical activity in your brain via a series of electrodes attached to your scalp. EEGs are often helpful in diagnosing some types of epilepsy, but may be normal in frontal lobe epilepsy.
- Video EEG. Video EEG is usually performed during an overnight stay at a hospital's sleep clinic. Both a video camera and an EEG monitor run all night. Doctors can then match the physical manifestations of a seizure with what appears on the EEG at that time. But video EEGs are expensive and may not be available in your area.
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