An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that detects electrical activity in your brain using small, metal discs (electrodes) attached to your scalp. Your brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even when you’re asleep. This activity shows up as wavy lines on an EEG recording. An EEG is one of the main diagnostic tests for epilepsy and seizure disorders. An EEG can also play a role in diagnosing other brain disorders.
Why EEG ?
An EEG can determine changes in brain activity that might be useful in diagnosing brain disorders, especially epilepsy or another seizure disorder. An EEG might also be helpful for diagnosing or treating the following disorders:
- Brain tumor
- Brain damage from head injury
- Brain dysfunction that can have a variety of causes (encephalopathy)
- Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
- Sleep disorders
None: EEGs are safe and painless. Sometimes seizures are triggered in people with epilepsy during the test, but appropriate medical care is provided if needed.
How Do You Prepare ?
Food and medications
- Avoid anything with caffeine on the day of the test because it can affect the test results.
- Take your usual medications unless instructed otherwise.
- Wash your hair the night before or the day of the test, but don’t use conditioners, hair creams ,sprays or styling gels.Hair products can make it harder for the sticky patches that hold the electrodes to adhere to your scalp.
- If you’re supposed to sleep during your EEG test, your doctor might ask you to sleep less or avoid sleep the night before your test.
What Can You Expect ?
During the test
You’ll feel little or no discomfort during an EEG. The electrodes don’t transmit any sensations. They just record your brain waves. Here are some things you can expect to happen during an EEG:
A technician measures your head and marks your scalp with a special pencil to indicate where to attach the electrodes. Those spots on your scalp might be scrubbed with a gritty cream to improve the quality of the recording.
A technician attaches discs (electrodes) to your scalp using a special adhesive. The electrodes are connected with wires to an instrument that amplifies the brain waves and records them on computer equipment. Once the electrodes are in place, an EEG typically takes up to 60 minutes. Testing for certain conditions requires you to sleep during the test. In that case, the test can be longer.
You relax in a comfortable position with your eyes closed during the test. At various times, the technician might ask you to open and close your eyes, perform a few simple calculations, read a paragraph, look at a picture, breathe deeply for a few minutes, or look at a flashing light.
Video is routinely recorded during the EEG. Your body motions are captured by a video camera while the EEG records your brain waves. This combined recording can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition.
After the test
The technician removes the electrodes and you can return to your normal routine.
Dr. Ishan Adhikari who is a trained Clinical Neurophysiologist & Neurologist will analyze EEGs and interpret the recording. Dr. Adhikari will schedule an office appointment to discuss the results of the test. If possible, bring along a family member or friend to the appointment to help you remember the information you’re given.