Services at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix  

WADA Testing


At Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, epilepsy patients considering surgery are required to undergo a WADA test. 

A WADA test is used to:

  • determine which side of the brain controls language function
  • determine how each side of the brain is involved in memory function and which side of the brain has better memory function.
  • look at language and memory function on each side of the brain, one side at a time. 

In most people, language (speech) is controlled by the left side of the brain. The WADA test allows physicians to determine which side of the brain controls language in the patient’s brain. Memory can be controlled by both sides of the brain.

Procedure of a WADA test

  1. A neurointerventional radiologist injects an anesthetic into the right or left internal carotid artery, putting the injected side of your brain to sleep for a few minutes.
  2. The side of the brain that is put to sleep is unable to communicate with the other (awake) side of the brain. 
  3. An EEG (brain wave activity) recording of the brain is taken in conjunction with a neurological examination to confirm that the injected side of the brain is asleep. 
  4. Once this is confirmed, the neuropsychologist will evaluate your ability to speak and test your memory. 

After a 30-minute wait, the other side of your brain is put to sleep and the procedure repeated.

WADA testing is performed at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix for patients who are interested in moving forward with epilepsy surgery. 

To learn more about WADA testing or about any of our Epilepsy Programs, please call the Neuroscience Clinic at (602) 839-6533

Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
1111 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 839-2000
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