What is EEG (Electroencephalography)?
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a very painless procedure that uses small, flat electrodes (metal discs) attached to your scalp to help us detect activity in your brain. The cells in your brain communicate through electrical impulses and are active all of the time – even when you’re asleep. The electrical activity measured by an EEG shows up as wavy line. The physicians who interpret the electrical activity in your brain are called neurologists.
EEGs are safe and painless procedures that are performed on an outpatient basis and take about an hour (plus prep time). You’ll feel little or no discomfort during this procedure as the electrodes do not produce sensations, they simply record brain waves.
During the EEG, a technician will measure your head to mark your scalp to indicate placement of the electrodes. Using a special adhesive, the technician will then attach the electrodes to your scalp. These electrodes are connected by wires to amplify the brain waves in order for them to be recorded on a computer. During the test, you’ll relax in a comfortable position and rest your eyes. Occasionally, a technician may ask you to open your eyes or perform simple calculations, look at a picture, or read a few sentences. After the EEG is complete, the electrodes will be removed and you can return to your day.
Why an EEG May Be Performed
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is performed to determine the presence of changes in normal brain activity to help us diagnose certain disorders. An EEG may be used to confirm a brain disorder, rule out a brain disorder, or give us information to help us manage many neurological disorders.
An EEG may be used for the following conditions:
- To diagnose epilepsy
- To distinguish epileptic seizures from other types of spells, such as psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, syncope (fainting), sub-cortical movement disorders, and migraine variants
- To diagnose a coma
- To detect inflammation of the brain – encephalopathies
- To determine brain death
- To determine presence or absence of brain tumors
- To confirm or rule out stroke
- To diagnose sleep disorders
- Other focal brain disorders
EEG can also be used in intensive care units (ICU) for brain monitoring. On an ICU, an EEG may be used for the following:
- To monitor for non-convulsive seizures/non-convulsive status epilepticus
- To monitor the effect of sedative/anesthesia in patients in a medically induced coma (for treatment of refractory seizures or increased intracranial pressure)
We thank you for your consideration in trusting us with your neurological care and we highly look forward to working alongside you.