Electroencephalogram (EEG)

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Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test used to look at the electrical activity in the brain.

An EEG may be done to:

  • Help diagnose seizures
  • Assess if brain function has been affected by certain conditions and diseases, such as:
    • Trauma
    • Coma
    • Brain infection— encephalitis
    • Electrolyte imbalance

At UVA, our labs are ABRET-accredited, a recognition given to programs that meet certain technical standards and demonstrate quality output.

What to Expect of an EEG

You will sit in a chair or lie on a bed. Your doctor places electrodes on your scalp with special gel or paste. The electrodes record the brain's electrical activity. Your doctor will ask you to close your eyes and be still for most of the test.

Depending on the reason for the test, there may be other steps such as:

  • Your doctor may ask you to breathe deeply and rapidly.
  • Your doctor may turn on a strobe light that sends fast pulses of light.

The painless test takes about one hour. In some cases, an EEG is done overnight or over a number of days. The test may be done at home or in the hospital.

After an EEG

Your doctor removes the electrodes and you'll be able to go home. Your doctor will get a report within 1-2 weeks and will talk to you about the results.

Have you had a brain scan at UVA?

See your imaging scans online using MyVue.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.