Stay Sharp: Test Your Brain Wave Activity

ADC - Electroencephalography

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a test that measures your brain wave activity (brain function). Your doctor may order this test to check for seizures or other brain problems. For this test, small metal disks (electrodes) are attached to the scalp with glue, or with water-based gel or paste. During the test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on a screen or on paper. They will be studied to assess your brain function. In some people who are prone to seizures, parts of this test may slightly increase their chance of having a seizure. But the benefits of this test outweigh the risk.

Before Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Wash and dry your hair. But don’t use any hair styling products. Your scalp and hair should be clean and free of excess oil. Take your routine medications, unless told not to. You may be asked to sleeping during the EEG. To help you do this, you may be told to stay up all or part of the night before the test. Or, you may be given medication to help you sleep during the test. If so, someone will need to drive you home after the test. Your test will take about 90 minutes. But allow extra time to check in. Don’t forget to let your technologist know:

  • What medications you take
  • About any seizures you may have had in the past

During Your Test

You will sit in a reclining chair or lie down on an exam table in a softly lighted room. The technologist will measure certain points on your head He or she will use a special pencil to mark the spots where electrodes will be placed on your scalp. Your scalp will be rubbed with a mild abrasive, and electrodes will be attached. You will then be asked to do any of the following:

  • Relax, and open and close your eyes.
  • Breathe rapidly and deeply for a few minutes.
  • Sense a flashing light through your closed eyes.
  • Relax and go to sleep.

After Your Test

When your test is done, all of the electrodes will be removed. At home, wash your hair to remove any remaining glue, gel or paste. You can get right back to your normal routine. If you stopped taking any medications before the test, ask your doctor when you can start taking them again. Your doctor will let you know when your test results are ready.

Remember to avoid caffeine, but eat meals as usual. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

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