What is an Electroencephalogram Testing?

ElectroencephalogramAn EEG is a test that detects abnormalities in the brain waves and evaluates the electrical activity in the brain. The test tracks and records brain wave patterns. Electrodes are attached to the scalp with wires. The electrodes analyze the brain’s electrical impulses and send signals to the computer where the results are recorded. The electrical impulses in an EEG recording look like wavy lines with peaks and valleys. These lines allow the doctor to assess whether there are abnormal patterns quickly. Any irregularities may be a sign of seizure or other brain disorders.

Why might I need an EEG?

The test will detect several types of brain disorders which affects daily life activities.

  • People can have lesions in their brains, which can be a result of a stroke or a tumor. This will cause unusually slow EEG waves.
  • The test will diagnose all of the disorders that might cause interference with the brain activity. Such disorders are sleep disorders, psychoses, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The test will determine the brain’s overall electrical activity and help evaluate drug intoxication, trauma, or the extent of brain damage. The test will also evaluate the blood flow to the brain.

What are the risks of an EEG?

The test has been in use for many years now and is considered completely safe by health professionals. The test causes no discomfort and is a safe procedure. The electrodes will not produce any sensation while recording the brain activity. The electric shocks also have no risks.

The procedure of the test

Before the test

Your healthcare provider will ask you some questions and also explain to you the whole process. The doctor will be open to any question.

  • Tell your doctor about the medicines that you have been taking.
  • In preparation for the NCS, you should bathe or shower the night or morning before the test to clean the skin areas.
  • You should not apply any lotions or oils to your skin, as these can interfere with recording the electrical impulses.
  • We suggest that you wear loose-fitting, comfortable, and easily-removed clothing for any office visits, and we would suggest that the ladies not wear pantyhose.
  • Avoid using caffeine for 8 to 12 hours before the test.
  • Avoid fasting the night before the test because low blood sugar will interfere with the test.

During the test

To determine if there is damage to your nerves, your doctor will attach a small recording electrode to the surface of one part of your limb and touch your skin at another point with a pair of electrodes delivering the shock.

  • You will feel a tingling sensation that may or may not be painful.
  • As there are several nerves in each extremity that need to be tested, the procedure is repeated 3 or 4 times or more per extremity studied.
  • The amount of current delivered is always kept at a safe level and is not harmful.
  • Patients wearing pacemakers or other electrical devices need not worry since this current will rarely interfere with such devices.
  • This test is used to diagnose conditions in your extremities only. It does not repair or fix the damage done to nerves and muscles.

How Long Will The Test Take?

The tests usually take 20 to 45 minutes. You can perform any of your normal activities, like eating, driving, and exercising before the tests, and you can also resume your normal activities after the tests. There are no lasting side effects.

Who Is Eligible To Do The Testing?

Doctors who do EMGs go to 4 years of medical school then have 3 or 4 more years of training in a residency program. The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine’s policy is that an appropriately trained doctor should do all needle EMG testing.  Medical training helps the doctor decide which tests to perform based on your symptoms. It teaches doctors what can go wrong with the human body and how to tell the difference between these problems.