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An EEG tests the activity in your brain. It’s used to find any changes in how the brain is working. It’s done for people who have had fits.
An EEG can be done as an outpatient. You shouldn't smoke for at least eight hours or drink caffeine before the test. Other than that, you can eat and drink normally beforehand. You can ask if your parents or friend can stay with you for the test.
It’s a painless test and it takes about an hour. You’ll have about 20 small discs stuck onto your head with some gel, and then wires are attached to them. These are connected to a machine that records your nerves working, and draws it out as wavy lines on paper.
You’ll need to relax and keep still. You’ll either lie on a couch or on a chair with a moveable back, and you’ll be asked to close your eyes. Any movement can change the results, which is why you need to be as still as possible.
If you’re having the EEG as an outpatient, you can go home straight away. Results of the test should be available in a few days - your doctor will be able to tell you exactly when.
Content last reviewed: 1 November 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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