Preliminary Diagnosis: Seizures

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis?

MRI with contrast of the brain with seizure protocol.

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosing seizures.


  • Able to detail the brain parenchyma for gray and/or white matter abnormalities.

  • Does not make use of ionizing radiation.


  • Subject to motion artifact, which degrades image quality.

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

Contraindications include non-MR compatible hardware.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

CT scan of the brain without contrast.

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosing seizures.


  • Less expensive and faster to perform as compared to MR imaging.


  • Less sensitive and specific for evaluating structural parenchymal abnormalities that serves as an epileptogenic focus.

  • Exposes patients to ionizing radiation.

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

May be contraindicated in pregnant patients.

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