What is an EEG?
An Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a way to monitor electrical impulses from the brain. The EEG can show possible seizure activity as well as other abnormalities within the brain function such as encephalitis or stroke. A seizure is when the normal function of the brain is interrupted which can result in Epilepsy. Epilepsy is when a person has two or more seizures.
A physician or provider will also order an EEG for symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, syncope, confusion, memory loss, head injuries, tremors, and weakening of specific parts of the body.
What to expect during an EEG:
You will feel little to no discomfort during the EEG. The electrodes do not transmit any sensations, instead they record electrical impulses from the brain creating “brain waves.” An Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist will measure your head and mark your scalp with a soft wax pencil or washable marker to indicate where to place the electrodes. The electrodes are small gold cups attached to wires which are filled with a small amount of greasy/goopy paste. Before the electrode is placed, the Technologist will rub each location with a gritty gel to clean the area. Once all the wires are in place, the technologist will record your brain waves for 30 – 60 minutes or longer as ordered by your provider. During this time, you will be asked to do a deep breathing exercise, look at a flashing light, and will be given the opportunity to rest/sleep. After the EEG, the technologist will remove the electrodes. You should not feel any side effects and can return to your normal routine after washing the paste from your hair.
Your EEG will be read by either Dr. Austin Hake who is the Medical Director of the EEG Laboratory or Dr. Douglas Sullivant. Both completed a one year Neurophysiology fellowship which focuses on EEG interpretation. They are the only neurologists in Quincy who have undergone this additional training which helps ensure the quality of your EEG interpretation.
You will be notified of the results of your EEG by your referring provider’s office.
How to prepare for an EEG:
- Thoroughly clean your hair. Hair must be free of gels, mousse, hair sprays or any other oils or hair products.
- Stay awake from 6 p.m. the night before the EEG until the time of your appointment unless otherwise instructed by your provider.
- No caffeine products 12 hours prior to the EEG.
- A light snack after midnight and a light breakfast is allowed.
- Continue to take medications as usual except sleep inducing medications unless otherwise instructed by your physician.
- Bring a current list of medications with you to the appointment.
- For your safety, please have a driver available to bring you to your appointment and drive you home.
For questions or concerns, please call 217-222-6550, ext. 6530.