An EEG test, or electroencephalogram, is used to monitor brain activity. The tests record the electrical impulses that travel through the brain. Electrodes are strategically placed on a person's scalp so they can pick up the brain waves and activity patterns of the electrical impulses that are constantly at work within the brain. An electrode is a small metal disc that is attached to a thin wire. The wire is connected to a machine that monitors the level of activity in the brain and produces a printout that the doctor can use to determine what issues are present if any. An EEG offers valuable information that may not otherwise be discovered using other testing methods.
An EEG takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete. The patient will be placed on a bed or in a recliner that will allow them to relax. A technician will take measurements and determine where the electrodes are to be placed. Once the electrodes are put in the proper position, the technician will start the test. The electrodes will begin to collect the data needed, and a strip will be produced that details the strength of the brain waves, as well as any fluctuations or abnormalities. The doctor will set the amount of time for the test by what types of information they are looking to find. The doctor can begin to evaluate the readings as soon as the test is finished.
An EEG test is normally requested by a physician when a person begins to experience severe headache pain, migraines, or seizures. The information provided by an EEG will help the doctor uncover potential causes for seizures and other neurological abnormalities that can decrease a patient's quality of life. Patients who have epilepsy or other neurological disorders will benefit from regular EEGs to monitor any changes or improvements in brain activity. EEGs are extremely effective as both a diagnostic tool as well as a monitoring system for when behavioral and neurological symptoms begin to appear.