EEG stands for electroencephalography, which is a diagnostic test that uses electrophysiological monitoring to observe and record the electrical activity of the brain. The small, metal electrodes used for the monitoring are placed along the patient’s scalp and can help us better assess brain activity to diagnose potential sleep disorders, seizures, and changes in behavior.
Many EEG tests are used to monitor patients who may be suffering from seizures or sleep disorders, but these tests can also be used to help evaluate brain activity in patients who have suffered from traumatic brain injuries. When an EEG test is performed by your doctor, either in a hospital or office setting, it will begin by placing the small electrode discs around your scalp. These electrodes, connected to a computer system, read the brain wave activity of the patient, and put it into lines on a computer monitor.
Normally an EEG test takes roughly one hour. If the patient is awake during the test, they will be asked to lie as still as possible so that nothing affects the waves. If a sleep EEG test is being conducted, then the monitors will be set up, and as the patient falls asleep and the testing will begin. Sleep EEG tests may take longer than one hour.
An EEG test, either done while you are awake or sleeping, will allow your doctor to gain more insight into your brain activity. This extra information will help them understand what may be causing any potential sleep disorders and also help them find the best treatment plan for you.