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Electroencephalogram - EEG

Electroencephalogram - EEG

A routine EEG is a cost-effective way to quickly assess and aid in the diagnosis of a variety of neurological problems including seizures, stroke, brain tumors, encephalopathy, head injury, encephalitis and organic causes of mental health symptoms.


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What it is

A routine EEG is a painless test that measures the electrical activity of your brain. An EEG includes video and is performed by registered EEG technologist.

Good for detecting

EEG can assist in diagnosing a neurological problems such as seizures, stroke, brain tumors, head injury, encephalitis, encephalopathy and organic causes of mental health symptoms.

What to expect

A routine EEG is a 30-minute recording, but special requests for recording up to two hours may be accommodated. Bedside recordings are possible on medical floors.

Continue to take any medications prescribed by your doctor, unless instructed otherwise. Bring a list of your current medications.

You will relax on a bed. The technologist will measure your head, part your hair and mark your scalp with a wax pencil. Then, a gritty lotion will be applied and electrodes are placed on your scalp. The room may be darkened.

While you rest with your eyes closed, your brain’s activity is recorded and the data saved to a computer. You will not feel anything during the recording. The test may include breathing deeply and quickly; looking at a bright, flashing light; opening and closing your eyes; and counting or answering questions. The technologist will remain in the room with you during the test.

A neurologist will review and interpret your EEG recording. The results will be sent to your referring physician.  A copy of the EEG recording is available on CD upon request. 

After the test, you may resume your normal daily activities.

Good to know

Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s EEG Lab has been accredited by the American Board of Registration for EEG and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET) since 2008.

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Reviewed by: Ellie Madison

First published:
Last reviewed: 8/2/2018