Zoomed MRI Guided by Combined EEG/MEG Source Analysis: A Multimodal Approach for Optimizing Presurgical Epilepsy Work-up and its Application in a Multi-focal Epilepsy Patient Case Study

Brain Topogr. 2017 Jul;30(4):417-433. doi: 10.1007/s10548-017-0568-9. Epub 2017 May 16.


In recent years, the use of source analysis based on electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) has gained considerable attention in presurgical epilepsy diagnosis. However, in many cases the source analysis alone is not used to tailor surgery unless the findings are confirmed by lesions, such as, e.g., cortical malformations in MRI. For many patients, the histology of tissue resected from MRI negative epilepsy shows small lesions, which indicates the need for more sensitive MR sequences. In this paper, we describe a technique to maximize the synergy between combined EEG/MEG (EMEG) source analysis and high resolution MRI. The procedure has three main steps: (1) construction of a detailed and calibrated finite element head model that considers the variation of individual skull conductivities and white matter anisotropy, (2) EMEG source analysis performed on averaged interictal epileptic discharges (IED), (3) high resolution (0.5 mm) zoomed MR imaging, limited to small areas centered at the EMEG source locations. The proposed new diagnosis procedure was then applied in a particularly challenging case of an epilepsy patient: EMEG analysis at the peak of the IED coincided with a right frontal focal cortical dysplasia (FCD), which had been detected at standard 1 mm resolution MRI. Of higher interest, zoomed MR imaging (applying parallel transmission, 'ZOOMit') guided by EMEG at the spike onset revealed a second, fairly subtle, FCD in the left fronto-central region. The evaluation revealed that this second FCD, which had not been detectable with standard 1 mm resolution, was the trigger of the seizures.

Keywords: Combined EEG/MEG; Epileptic activity; Focal cortical dysplasia type IIb; Realistic finite element head model; Skull conductivity calibration; Source reconstruction; Zoomed MRI.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain / surgery
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnostic imaging*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / etiology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / surgery
  • Female
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Head
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods
  • Malformations of Cortical Development / complications
  • Malformations of Cortical Development / diagnostic imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods*
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Seizures / diagnostic imaging
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Skull