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What To Expect From An EEG | Deltona Medical Malpractice Lawyer

What To Expect From An EEG

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a painless procedure that uses small, flat metal discs (electrodes) attached to your scalp to detect electrical activity in your brain. This procedure is often done after a head injury resulting from a car accident.

Your brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even when you’re asleep. This activity shows up as wavy lines on an EEG recording.

An EEG can determine changes in brain activity that may be useful in diagnosing brain disorders, especially epilepsy. According to the Mayo Clinic, an EEG may be helpful to confirm, rule out or provide information that helps with management of the following disorders:

  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
  • Brain tumor
  • Head injury
  • Brain dysfunction that may have a variety of causes (encephalopathy)
  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
  • Stroke
  • Sleep disorders
  • Memory impairment

An EEG can’t measure intelligence or detect mental illness. It may be used to confirm brain death in someone in a persistent coma.

To prepare for an EEG, you’ll need to wash your hair the night before or the day of the test and not use any conditioners, hair creams, sprays or styling gels. Avoid anything with caffeine six hours before the test and take your usual medications unless instructed otherwise.

What you can expect from the test

You’ll feel little or no discomfort during an EEG. The electrodes don’t transmit any sensations. They just record your brain waves. If you need to sleep during the EEG, you might be given a sedative beforehand to help you relax.

According to Webmd.com, you will be asked to lie on your back on a bed or table or relax in a chair with your eyes closed. The EEG technologist will attach 17 to 21 flat metal discs (electrodes) to different places on your head, using a sticky paste to hold the electrodes in place. A cap with fixed electrodes may be placed on your head instead of individual electrodes. In rare cases, these electrodes may be attached to the scalp with tiny needles.

The electrodes are hooked by wires to a computer that records the electrical activity inside the brain. A machine can show the activity as a series of wavy lines drawn by a row of pens on a moving piece of paper or as an image on the computer screen.

You will be asked to lie still with your eyes closed during the recording, and do not talk to the technologist unless you need to. The technologist will watch you directly or through a window during the test. The recording may be stopped from time to time to allow you to stretch and reposition yourself.

The technologist may ask you to do different things during the test to record what activity your brain does at that time.

  • You may be asked to breathe deeply and rapidly (hyperventilate). Usually you will take 20 breaths a minute for 3 minutes.
  • You may be asked to look at a bright, flashing light called a strobe. This is called photic or stroboscopic stimulation.
  • You may be asked to go to sleep. If you can’t fall asleep, you may be given a sedative to help you fall asleep. If an EEG is being done to check a sleep problem, an all-night recording of your brain’s electrical activity may be done.

An EEG takes 1 to 2 hours. After the test, you may do your normal activities. But if you were sleep-deprived or given a sleep medicine, have someone drive you home after the test.

Your doctor may want you to have a video EEG, which may require you to be admitted to a hospital. During this test, your body motions are captured by a video camera while the EEG simultaneously records your brain waves during a seizure. This may help your doctor pinpoint the location in your brain where seizures begin.

Results

Your doctor may schedule an office appointment to discuss the results of the test. If possible, bring along a family member or friend. It can be difficult to absorb all the information provided to you during an appointment.

Write down questions that you want to ask your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to speak up when you don’t understand something your doctor says.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Based on the results, what are my next steps?
  • What kind of follow-up, if any, should I expect?
  • Are there any factors that might have affected the results of this test, and therefore may have altered the results?
  • Will I need to repeat the test at some point?

For more on medical procedures, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach malpractice attorney.



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