Purpose of review: In this review we discuss recent advances in the neuroimaging of patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), highlighting its application in improving clinical management, particularly in the case of intractable epilepsy.
Recent findings: Progress in structural and functional imaging has led to further characterization of the brain lesions in TSC. New magnetic resonance imaging techniques that can delineate the extent of structural brain abnormalities in TSC have been developed. Diffusion tensor imaging unveils the microstructural abnormalities of the brain lesions and of the morphologically normal appearing white matter in TSC. It can potentially identify the epileptogenic zone. Positron emission tomography scanning with 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose can assess the full extent of functional brain abnormalities in TSC. The use of alpha [11C] methyl-L-tryptophan positron emission tomography scanning has proven to be a useful tool in the identification of epileptogenic tubers and has improved the outcome of surgery for epilepsy in TSC.
Summary: Major advances of neuroimaging in TSC have shown evidence of widespread structural and functional brain abnormalities. In TSC patients with intractable epilepsy, new neuroimaging modalities can now provide an accurate assessment of the epileptogenic zone, thereby permitting improved identification of patients who can have good seizure outcome following surgery for epilepsy.