PET and ictal SPECT can be helpful for localizing epileptic foci

Curr Opin Neurol. 2018 Apr;31(2):184-191. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000527.


Purpose of review: Functional neuroimaging with PET and SPECT is a commonly used tool in presurgical evaluation. The following article reviews the literature of PET and SPECT in presurgical assessment of epilepsies published in the last year.

Recent findings: FDG-PET adds concomitant information in temporal and extratemporal lobe epilepsy in adults and children. The pattern of hypometabolism in FDG-PET is a good additional predictor or seizure outcome in TLE with mesial temporal sclerosis or negative MRI. There is growing evidence that diagnostic value of FDG-PET increases with postprocessing. Although several methods were applied in the reviewed literature, all of them seem to outperform the visual analysis. Imaging of the epileptic focus with ictal SPECT is depending on short injection latencies. It is particularly useful in patients with nonlesional MRI and mostly of extratemporal localization. Areas of hyperperfusion remote of SOZ are reflecting the epileptic network. Combining more concordant investigations including PET and SPECT in MRI-negative evaluation adds to better presurgical stratification and therefore, better postsurgical outcome. FET-PET shows increased uptake in status epilepticus.

Summary: PET and SPECT are important investigations to localize the epileptic focus in temporal lobe and nonlesional extratemporal epilepsies. Postprocessing for both modalities is important to increase diagnostic value.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / surgery
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnostic imaging*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / surgery
  • Epilepsy / diagnostic imaging
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / surgery
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Seizures
  • Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*