Guide to EEG

Health Play Department
Bergholt Ward, Ipswich Hospital
Tel: 01473 702 186 (Ext:1186)

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of brain activity.

  • An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test which analyses and records brain wave pattern, and evaluates the electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells communicate with each other through electrical impulses and tells the body what to do.
  • Small flat metal discs called electrodes are attached to your head with coloured wires, which send signals to a computer that records the results.
  • A clinical physiologist (CP) does the test, which can take between 60 to 90 minutes.
  • A soft pencil and a measuring tape is used mark the skin to show where the electrodes need to be placed.
  • We use paste to help attach the electrodes to your head, Try and keep still so they don’t fall off. The electrode wires are attached to the ‘head box’ and a computer. The recordings on the screen look like wiggly lines.
  • You may be asked to do some simple tasks during the EEG. For example, you could be asked to lay down, sit up, close your eyes or take deep breaths. They may also use a strobe light for a short part of the test.
  • While they are recording you can bring things to do, toys, colouring, books and you can watch a film.
  • When the test is complete the leads are painlessly removed, but some paste may remain. This can be brushed or washed out later.

Other types of EEG

Sleep EEG – this is carried out while you are asleep

Sleep-deprived EEG – you are asked to stay awake the night before the test to help ensure you are ‘sleep deprived’ while it is carried out

Ambulatory EEG – is when brain activity is recorded throughout the day and night over a period of one or more days.

For more information

Speak to your nurse or play specialist.