The electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test. It is used to look at the electrical activity in the brain.
Reasons for Test
An EEG may be done to:
What to Expect
Prior to Test
Depending on the reason for your EEG, you may be given some of the following instructions:
Description of Test
You will sit in a chair or lie on a cot. Electrodes will be placed on your scalp with special gel or paste. The electrodes will record the brain's electrical activity. You will be asked to close your eyes and be still for most of the test. Depending on the reason for the test, there may be other steps such as:
In some cases, the doctor will make a video recording of the test.
The technician will remove the electrodes, and you will be able to go home.
Talk to your doctor about restarting any medicines you may have stopped.
How Long Will It Take?
The test may take about one hour. In some cases, an EEG is done overnight or over a number of days. The test may be done at home or in the hospital.
Will It Hurt?
No, an EEG is painless.
A specialist will review your test results. Your doctor will get a report within 1-2 weeks of your test and talk to you about the results.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have a seizure disorder and you have a change in your regular seizure pattern once you have restarted your anti-seizure medicine.
National Institutes of Health
EEG (Electroencephalogram). KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/eeg.html#. Updated September 2008. Accessed August 31, 2012.
Seizure in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated August 2, 2012. Accessed August 31, 2012.
Seizure in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated August 2, 2012. Accessed August 31, 2012.
Shevell M, Ashwal S, Donley D, et al. Practice parameter: Evaluation of the child with global developmental delay: Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and The Practice Committee of the Child Neurology Society. Neurology. 2003;60:367-380.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Rimas Lukas, MD