About EEG testing
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test used to detect abnormalities related to electrical activity of the brain. This procedure tracks and records brain wave patterns. Small metal discs with thin wires (electrodes) are placed on the scalp and record signals to a computer. Normal electrical activity in the brain makes a recognizable pattern. Through an EEG, we can look for abnormal patterns that indicate seizures and other dysfunctions.
Why an EEG test is done
The most common reason for an EEG is to diagnose and monitor seizure disorders. EEGs can also help to identify causes of other problems such as sleep disorders and changes in behavior.
How the test is done
Most EEGs are performed right here in our office. Your child will be asked to lie on a bed or sit in a chair. The technician will attach electrodes to different locations on the scalp using adhesive paste. Each electrode is connected to an amplifier and EEG recording machine. The electrical signals from the brain are converted into wavy lines on a computer screen and stored digitally. Your child will be asked to lie still because movement can alter the results.
EEGs are safe. If your child has a seizure disorder, we may want to stimulate and record a seizure during the EEG. A seizure can be triggered by flashing lights or a change in breathing pattern. The technician will know your child’s medical history and will be prepared for any issues that may arise during the test.
Most in-office EEGs take about an hour to perform. If your child is required to sleep during the EEG, the test will take longer. You might be able to stay in the room with your child, or you can step outside to a waiting area.
Other types of EEGs: ambulatory EEG and EMU
While most EEGs are performed in our office, occasionally the hour allotted for an in-office EEG does not capture the brain activity we want to examine. In this case, we may perform an ambulatory EEG, where the child wears electrodes and a “backpack” for several days to capture the information. An EMU (Epilepsy Monitoring Unit) is an all-day EEG performed at a hospital. In addition to electrodes attached to the scalp, a video camera also records the patient’s behavior in question. The can test takes between 24 and 72 hours of hospitalization.
Please make a follow-up appointment for the results
After your child has taken the EEG, please stop at the front desk to schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the results with the doctor. If no one is available at the desk, please call to schedule a follow-up appointment.