An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a painless test that takes a recording of your brain wave activity. Our program offers inpatient and outpatient services for adults, adolescents, children, and newborns for routine EEG.

Requisition: a signed requisition along with reason for the EEG or sleep deprived EEG is required from the ordering physician in order for this test to be performed.

EEG procedure:
  • Electrodes are applied to your scalp with a paste.
  • The test is generally performed when lying down on a bed with eyes closed. However, the test is flexible for those confined to chairs or for smaller children who may need to be comforted in their parent’s arms.
  • The technologist may ask you to open and close your eyes, perform a few simple calculations, read a paragraph, look at a picture, breathe deeply (hyperventilate) for a few minutes, or look at a flashing light.
  • The technologist will ask for some related history as to the reason for your test.
  • Video is frequently recorded during the EEG. Body motions are captured by a video camera while the EEG simultaneously records your brain waves. This combined recording may help doctor diagnose and treat your condition.
How long will the test take?

A routine EEG test will take 45 minutes to one hour.

On some occasions, the doctor will order a sleep-deprived EEG which requires the patient to undergo a period of no sleep (usually 24 hours for adults and for children a disturbed sleep schedule). Some changes in the brain activity only appear in sleep, so it is important that the patient must try to take a nap during the test.

How do I prepare for this test?
  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment so you can be registered. Please bring your health card.
  • Clean, dry hair is requested. Please do not use hair products (hair creams, sprays or styling gels) as they interfere with the recording.
  • Please note Grand River hospital promotes a scent reduction environment.
  • Avoid anything with caffeine on the day of the test.
  • Take your medications as usual before the test unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
  • You may eat as normal.
  • Interpreters are welcome if there are language concerns.
What happens after the test?
  • The technician will wash off the cream with warm water. The paste will leave a residue in your hair and that will come out with regular shampoo when you get home.
  • Please bring a comb with you or a hat.
  • There are no side effects after the procedure, and you can return to your normal routine.
When will I get the results?

The EEG will be interpreted by a neurologist and forwarded to your physician, or referring physician in a weeks’ time.