Electroencephalogram (EEG)

An EEG or electroencephalogram (e-lek-tro-en-sef-ah-lo-gram) is a recording of the electrical activity of the brain.
  • Explain the test to your child.
  • Shampoo your child's hair well the night before the test. Do not use any hair spray, oil or mousse. Any hair extensions, pieces or weaves must be taken out.
  • Your child may eat and drink as usual and should take any prescribed medications.
  • You may bring your child's favorite toy and / or security item such as a blanket.

For a sleep-deprived EEG, your child may go to bed at his / her normal time. You should then awaken your child at the following suggested times:

    • Under 3 years old: awaken at 4 am
    • 3-11 years old: awaken at 2 am
    • 12 years and older: awaken at 12 am

Your child will be shown what will happen. Electrodes (referred to as buttons, with wires) are placed on areas of the child's head with cream, after cleaning each area with a cotton tip.

The child is asked to lie very still with his / her eyes closed and told to try to relax. The electrodes pick up signals about how the brain is working. These messages are sent to a computer which records the activity.

During part of the test, the technologist flashes a bright light in front of the child for 10 seconds approximately nine different times. Some children will be asked to breathe deeply for 2-3 minutes during the test.

The technologist may ask parents to hold younger children during the test to get a better recording. Other visitors can wait in the waiting room.

After the test, the electrodes are removed and a wet wash cloth is used to clean the hair and scalp. There will still be some cream that will need to be washed out at home. After the test, your child can resume his / her normal activities.

A neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the nervous system, will read the tracing. A report will be sent to the requesting doctor or clinic. Results from the test can take up to 5-7 business days.

Last Updated 06/2012