An electroencephalogram, commonly referred to as an EEG, is a diagnostic test for detecting abnormalities in the electrical activity of the brain or in the brain waves. The test aids in diagnosing various brain disorders, such as epilepsy. The experienced and caring team of physicians at Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, perform EEG testing and can determine if you need one.
When an EEG is Needed
An EEG is needed when any type of brain disorder is suspected. Doctors use the data collected during the test to identify factors influencing brain activity and diagnose specific disorders. The experienced doctors who perform EEG tests at our Winchester, VA, neurological practice will evaluate your symptoms and determine if you need an EEG.
Brain disorders and conditions that can be diagnosed through EEG testing include:
- Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
- Brain lesions due to stroke or tumors
- Certain types of psychoses
- Narcolepsy (a sleep disorder)
- Alzheimer’s disease
In addition to aiding in the diagnosis of certain conditions, an EEG test can also be used for other purposes. It helps doctors monitor the flow of blood to the brain during surgery. An EEG can also provide information about the brain’s overall electrical activity, which is useful in evaluating trauma or the extent of brain damage in a patient who is comatose.
The Electroencephalogram (EEG) Procedure
EEG testing can be performed either in the hospital or as an outpatient procedure, depending on the patient’s condition and other factors. The procedure is painless and all you need to do is lie back, relax, and be still. Several small metal electrodes will be placed on your scalp. Thin wires attached to the electrodes transmit information about your brain activity during the EEG test. The doctor or technician performing the test will be able to observe the data on a computer screen.
An EEG test can take anywhere between 45 minutes and two hours, on average. It is necessary to remain still throughout the procedure in order to gather information about the brain’s activity while you are at rest. However, the doctor or technician might also introduce stimuli later to observe brain activity when not at rest. For example, data might be gathered while you are exposed to bright, flashing lights or while you breath quickly and deeply for several consecutive minutes.
The information gathered during the test can reveal what might be affecting the brain. For instance, an EEG test produces rapid spiking waves on screen when seizure activity is present, which is indicative of epilepsy. If there is a lesion on the brain from a tumor or stroke, the EEG test might show unusually slow waves.
An EEG is an extremely useful and effective test for diagnosing a diverse range of brain conditions and disorders so that an appropriate treatment plan can be developed. For EEG testing in Winchester, VA, schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable and caring providers by calling Winchester Neurological Consultants at (540) 667-1828.