An electroencephalogram (EEG) test involves the recording and analysis of electrical signals generated by the brain. There are two types of EEGs that a doctor may order: routine and sleep-deprived. A sleep-deprived EEG is where you stay awake much of the night before your EEG.
This test is used to help diagnose conditions such as seizures, head injuries, dizziness, syncope, headaches, and epilepsy.
To have an EEG, your doctor needs to fill out a requisition form. Download EEG requisition form.
An EEG is performed by an EEG technologist.
Before Your EEG
For a Routine or Sleep-Deprived EEG:
Shampoo your hair on the morning of the test. Do not use gel, mousse, sprays, etc. Bring all current medications with you. Have meals as usual but exclude caffeinated products. Caffeine products include coffee and tea (decaffeinated and caffeinated), chocolate, cocoa, pop, energy drinks, and any medication or supplements that may have caffeine.
Additional Information for a Sleep-Deprived EEG:
Adults and children over 12 years of age must stay awake from midnight before the test.
You should book children 12 months to three years of age during their naptime. Four- to eight-year-olds should be awake from 4 a.m.; nine- to 12-year-olds from 2 a.m.
During and After Your EEG
During your test, the technologist will make some special markings on your head with a pencil to help guide where to put the electrodes. They will attach electrodes to these spots using gel paste. The electrodes will be attached by wires to a machine that the technologist will use to monitor your brainwaves. The entire process might be a bit uncomfortable but it should not hurt.
After your test, the technologist will remove the electrodes. You may still have some gel paste in your hair that you will need to wash out later.
Frequently Asked Questions About EEG
Are there any side effects to this test?