An Electroencephalogram, known as EEG, is a neurological test that measures the electrical activity of your brain. During an EEG, this activity is recorded as a unique pattern. A physician trained in interpreting EEGs is able to associate differences in EEG patterns with various neurological conditions.
How to Prepare
EEG testing requires minimal preparation. You may continue normal activities, including taking your regular prescription medications, unless your physician tells you otherwise. EEG results may be more accurate with minimal sleep the night before the test. Because of this, you may be asked to limit your sleep to a maximum of 4 hours. In this case, your appointment will be scheduled early in the day. When preparing for your EEG test, please be aware of the following guidelines:
- Bring a complete list of your current medications.
- Avoid caffeine.
- Avoid using hairsprays, conditioners, or oils the day of the test.
- Arrange alternate transportation if you will be tired due to lack of sleep.
- Plan ahead. Children may not accompany you during the test, nor may they be left unattended.
During the Test
Disruptions such as loud noise will affect EEG results; therefore, your test will take place in a quiet exam room or other designated area. During the test, the technician may ask you to perform tasks such as answer questions, relax your jaw, breathe deeply, or open and close your eyes. The technician may also flash a light in an attempt to change the EEG pattern. While this may be startling, EEG testing is not harmful and will not cause you pain.
How to Obtain Results
Your test results will be read by a neurologist and a report will be sent to your referring physician. An EEG alone will not identify a specific cause for your symptoms. However, this information, in combination with other details of your case, can be an important factor in determining an accurate diagnosis.