EEG Test: Procedure, Preparation & Risks (With Infographics)
In the simplest language, an EEG test or electroencephalography is the test or a method used to measure Electrical Signals inside our brain. Our brain consists of billions of neurons. The synchronized activities of these neurons create an electric field inside the brain. These then create an electrical pulse.
Through the process of EEG Test, doctor measure these Electrical Pulses. The more the irregularities in the waves, the greater the chance a person has some kind of brain disorder.
An in-depth explanation of EEG Test
Now all of us may have few similar queries?
- What’s the use of this test?
- How are the electrical signals measured inside our brain and what is the process?
- Is this test good for health or can it cause any kind of problems to health?
We’ll get in detail with each one of these queries but first, let’s understand the term EEG in certain detail.
Just like our body is made up of millions of cells, similarly, our brain is made up of millions of neurons. These neurons interact with each other and are connected to each other via synapses. Synapses are the junction through which electrical signals pass from one nerve cell to another. These signals are later measured through an EEG test. Any result with a frequency of 8 Hz and higher comes under normal outcomes any EEG Test.
An EEG test measures electrical movement and pulses. These are helpful to diagnose health problems related to our brain. Some disorder for which can be detected are:
- Seizure Disorders
- Sleep Disorders
- Memory Problems
- Encephalitis (Inflammation of the brain)
EEG is a diagnosis method and does not cure the problem.
Importance of Human Brain
The human brain is indeed one of the most complex organs of the human system. The human brain along with the spinal cord makes up the whole nervous system. Our brain basically serves 5 main functions –
- Memory and the ability to learn.
- Social interaction.
- Emotion and feelings.
Our brain is constantly active and sending electrical signals 24/7 even when we are asleep and dreaming. It’s a continuous process. Our brain controls our thinking, our thoughts, our everyday actions, and processes. It is basically the control center of the human body.
EEG Test Procedure
The process of electro-encephalo-graphy (encephalon-brain) isn’t as complex as the term itself. In fact, it is a simple test and doesn’t involve any risks
- The process starts with the placement of tiny electrodes on the scalp of the head.
- These electrodes themselves are placed inside tiny elastic caps.
- These electrodes are then placed all over the head so that identical information is collected from all over the scalp.
- The electrodes are connected to wires which are further connected to a computer.
- The electrodes monitor the electric frequency from neurons and cells inside the brain.
- The recordings are then projected on a computer in the form of waves.
- These waves are further studied by a doctor who studies these waves to distinguish and diagnose whether the patient has any disorders or not.
During the process of EEG test, the technician or the doctor may tell the patient to close or open eyes repeatedly or even put flickering lights in front of the patient to stimulate the senses. But these all procedures are really health friendly and don’t cause any harm.
Duration of an EEG Test
Once electrodes are placed on the scalp and the whole setup is connected to a computer and ready to go, the process usually takes around an hour. The patient would have their eyes closed most of the time during the procedure. It is a really easy and quick procedure. If performed under 24-48 hours from the last seizure, EEG proves to show abnormalities in most of the cases.
EEG Test Precautions & Precautions
- Caffeine consumption should be avoided on the day of the test as it may hamper the test results.
- Sleeping on the night before the test should be avoided as a doctor may ask you to sleep during your test.
- Continue your prescribed medication unless and until the doctor suggests you to stop.
- Make sure to have clean and washed hair the night before the test.
Also, it has to be made sure that no cosmetic products such as gels or conditioners are used a night before the test as it may make your hair non-sticky and the electrodes may have a hard time sticking to your scalp.
EEG Test Risks or Side Effects
EEG tests mostly have no as such risks involved. Over the years, with the onset of technology, it has become a really easy procedure to conduct. The electrodes placed are just for the purpose of recording the ongoing activity inside the brain and don’t really cause any kind of sensation.
Also, over the years the test has become non-invasive and really safe to conduct.
What to expect after an EEG Test
After the EEG test is completed, the technician present there will remove the 16-20 electrodes that were placed on the scalp of the patient. The patient will have to remove the sticky material on their head which was used to paste the electrodes.
No as such recovery time is needed and the patient can head back home as soon as the test is open. Although the patient is advised not to drive back home as there are chances of having a seizure. Once home, the patient should take rest for the rest of day and not really do any strenuous activity.
The result usually comes after a few days from the day of the EGG test. The readings of the EEG test are studied by a neurologist who checks and makes sure whether or not there are any abnormal readings.
With the help of EEG even the specific area where there is abnormality in the brain can be found out.
Scope of EEG
The application of EEG tests has broadened over the years and its usage outside of clinical diagnosis has increased greatly.
EEG tests are being used for the longest time and its history can be traced back to WW2 where pilots were screened in and out depending on the chances of them having a seizure. EEG Tests were in-fact recently used in Maharashtra as evidence in criminal trials. A lot of work and efforts are being put into making EEG machines portable, easier and quicker to use.
EEG tests can detect changes up to a millisecond, and its utility in the clinical field has increased greatly over the years.
EEG Test Cost
EEG test is available at few labs in a city. Its cost also varies depending on a number of factors. Thus, to help our users, we have prepared a complete guide on EEG Test cost in Delhi with centers list.