Electroencephalography (EEG)

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What is an EEG?

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive test to study the health and functioning of your brain by recording electrical activity.

Why do I need an EEG?

The most common reason an EEG is performed is to assist in diagnosing epilepsy. It is useful also to exclude unusual movements in the awake and sleep state.

Types of EEGs:

  1. Standard (Routine) EEGs

Usually, a standard EEG test will be done at the clinic room. This test is normally performed in the awake patient.

  1. Sleep-deprived EEG tests

A sleep-deprived EEG test is done when a patient has less sleep than usual, the night before the study (‘sleep-deprived’). When patients are sleep-deprived, there is a higher chance that abnormal electrical activity (if present) will be detected. PLEASE BE AWAKE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR EEG. IN ORDER TO ENSURE THE VALIDITY OF THE TEST, NAPS ARE PERMITTED OVERNIGHT, BUT NO LONGER THAN 2 HOURS.

  1. Prolonged EEG

This study is reserved for selected individuals to capture EEG during a normal awake and sleep state. This study is similar to a standard EEG except that it records for more than 3 hours with the ability to capture sleep EEG features and record events suspicious of a seizure.

How to prepare for your EEG

  • Wash your hair the night before.
  • Do not put any oil, gel, or hairspray.
  • Do not wear hair extensions because they can interfere with the test.
  • Religious headwear may need to be removed in order to conduct the test (please advise if you wish to be connected by a female or male Neurophysiology scientist in this case).

What happens during an EEG?

Before testing, the EEG scientist will ask a few questions about you, even though you may have given this information to your doctor. The scientist will clean the scalp lightly, place electrodes, and secure with a sticky paste and some light tape. A video is recorded in case an event occurs. This gives the neurologist an accurate visual record in conjunction with the EEG recording.

How much time will the procedure take?

A standard EEG usually takes about an hour to complete. This time allocated will include the placement of electrodes, recording of your brain activity, and analysis of these recordings by the Mater Epileptologist. A prolonged or sleep-deprived EEG may take longer. Our Neurophysiology scientist will give you a rough idea about the time, but the actual time on the day will vary depending on the time taken to fall asleep.

What happens after the EEG?

The Neurophysiology scientist will carefully remove all the electrodes from your scalp. The areas where the discs have been placed will be cleaned by the scientist but it is generally recommended that you wash your hair at home after the test is performed. There are no after-effects from the EEG so you can carry on with your normal activities immediately.

Obtaining the results.

The EEG scientist has been specially trained for obtaining a good EEG record and will be pleased to answer any questions about the procedure. However, the scientist cannot tell you the results of the test and administration staff are unable to provide results over the telephone. You must make arrangements with your doctor to receive the results. In urgent situations, your doctor may obtain a preliminary report by contacting our neurologist. THE EEG REPORT WILL BE FAXED TO YOUR REFERRING DOCTOR. Key points to remember.
  • The EEG is completely safe and pain free.
  • Wash your hair the night before.
  • Bring your referral.