Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test used to look at the electrical activity in the brain.
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An EEG may be done to:
There are no major complications associated with this test.
Depending on the reason for your EEG, you may be given some of the following instructions:
You will sit in a chair or lie on a bed. 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, a video recording of the test will be made.
The technician will remove the electrodes and you will be able to go home.
Talk to your doctor about restarting any medications that you may have stopped.
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.
No, an EEG is painless.
Your test results will be reviewed. Your doctor will get a report within 1-2 weeks and will talk to you about the results.
Call your doctor if you have a seizure disorder and your regular seizure pattern changes when you restart your anti-seizure medication.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation
EEG (electroencephalogram). Nemours Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/eeg.html. Updated September 2013. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Seizure in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 7, 2014. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Seizure in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 22, 2013. Accessed February 13, 2014.
Shevell M, Ashwal S, 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 January 2015 by Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated: 2/14/2014