EEG Testing

What is an EEG?

EEG stands for electroencephalogram, which is a test that measures brain wave activity. The brain waves are messages that tell your body what to do. The test records the waves for the doctor to see how your brain sends messages to your body.

Before the test begins…

Throughout the test, you’ll be lying in bed. First, the technician will measure your head with a tape measure. There are different colored caps the technicians use, so we measure your head to decide which one will fit you best! 

The technician will place the cap on your head and secure a cloth strap under your chin. While they are doing this, you can look at a book, watch TV, play on an iPad, or look at a toy that is in the room.

The technician will use a Q- tip to gently clean the holes of the white circles. They will use a light bluish-green lotion to clean. Some kids say the lotion feels gritty on their head as they are cleaning, but it does not hurt. As they are cleaning the holes, the technician will place a small blue gel in each of the holes on the cap.

Once the cap is fit securely to your head, the technician will then place stickers on your body. The bigger one is for your chest to see how well your heart is beating. The smaller one is placed on both sides of your eyes to help see how they move during the test. You can still watch TV, play on an iPad, or look at a toy as they place the stickers.

The technicians will use a soft cloth/gauze to wrap your head to make sure everything stays in place. It is very important to make sure you do not pull on the soft cloth/gauze or cap. It needs to stay on during the test.

Once everything is set up, the technician will turn down the lights in the room. Your caregiver can stay with you the entire time and lie down with you in the bed.

During the test…

For your EEG test, the technicians may have you do a blowing and light test. For the blowing test, it is your job to blow on the pin wheel as long as you can. For the light test, your job is to look at the bright, flashing light. Both of these tests take about as long as your favorite song on the radio.

After the test…

Once the test is complete, the technician will take off the soft cloth/gauze, the stickers, gels, and cap. The cap slides right off once the soft cloth/gauze is removed. They will make sure to clean off the extra lotion that may still be on you head. Your head may be a little sticky from the gel and lotion.

And finally, you can pick a prize and go home!

How Can I Help My Child?

It is not unusual for your child to be afraid of medical procedures. Children can bring items from home such as their favorite DVD, blanket, pillow or stuffed animal for the test to give them a sense of support and comfort. Child life specialists are available to help ease your child’s fears by focusing his or her attention on something fun and relaxing.

Here is a list of coping techniques that have been successful for children based on developmental level:

Infant 1-3 years old

  • Singing lullabies or playing music
  • Comfort item from home: (blanket or stuffed animal)
  • Hold and comfort child during EEG test
  • Toys that make sounds (rattle, plastic keys)

Toddler/Preschool: 3-5 years old

  • Play child’s favorite show or DVD on TV in room
  • Focus attention on something else (pinwheel, water toy, bubbles)
  • Read sound books, pop-up books, and counting books
  • Comfort item from home (blanket, stuffed animal)

School-Age: 6-12 years old

  • Play hand-held, iPad, or cell phone games
  • Listen to favorite music
  • Squeeze stress ball or hold someone’s hand
  • Play child’s favorite show or DVD on TV in room

Adolescent: 12-18 years old

  • Play hand-held, iPad, or cell phone games
  • Listen to favorite music
  • Squeeze stress ball or hold someone’s hand
  • Talk about favorite activities or hobbies