EEG stands for electroencephalogram. The test is useful to determine if a person has a mental or physical problem that affects the brain. Doctors can use the test to make sure all parts of the brain are functioning properly and to assist them with diagnosing their patients. A specialist performs an EEG, which only lasts a few minutes.
Why a Patient May Need an EEG
A patient may need an EEG procedure if the doctor suspects that the person may have a physical or mental health problem. The test checks to see if there are issues in the nervous system or brain that may be causing a person’s symptoms. The test can rule out a physical problem so that doctors can focus on mental issues that could be causing the same symptoms. Some common reasons for an EEG include:
- Suspected Seizure
- Brain damage caused by a severe head injury or trauma
- Inflammation of the brain
- Sleep disorders
Preparing for an EEG
An EEG is a non-invasive procedure, so it needs a few preparations. Doctors may mentally prepare the patients by explaining the process to them, so they understand what to expect. Patients should wash their hair to rinse out any creams or hair products. This can prevent the electrodes from sticking and interfere with the test. If any additional preparations are needed, the doctor will let the patient know in the days leading up to the procedure.
During the EEG Procedure
During the procedure, doctors will place metal discs with electrodes on the patient’s scalp. The electrodes are turned on and will monitor the brain’s activity. The results are sent to a computer and can show the doctor which areas of the brain are functioning properly and which ones are malfunctioning. Doctors can then compare the results with the patient’s symptoms to come up with a diagnosis or rule out a health problem or disease.
EEGs are common procedures and non-invasive, so there is no recovery needed. Patients can go home as soon as the procedure is over. Some patients may sustain some marks or even redness at the site where the metal discs were placed. Patients should recover quickly. If patients experience anything abnormal during or after the EEG procedure, they should inform their doctor immediately.
There are usually no complications associated with an EEG. Some patients may become nervous about the test. Patients with epilepsy may suffer from a seizure triggered by the flashing lights used in the procedure as well as overstimulation. Doctors take the time to consider the patient’s overall health before deciding if the procedure is safe for them.
The EEG test can show patients if the brain is working properly or where there are problems. The procedure can help doctors locate brain tumors, inflammation, or damage caused by a stroke or injury. Once doctors get the results of an EEG, they can better diagnose the patient with a condition or disease and come up with a treatment plan that can help relieve their symptoms.