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Electroencephalogram (EEG)

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures the electrical activity in the brain, called brain waves. This is done through small, painless electrodes that are placed on your child’s scalp. Our trained registered technologists perform EEGs.

Your child will be asked to lie down on a bed. The EEG technologist will measure your child’s head and makes small marks on the scalp with a washable marker or pen. Each marked area is rubbed with a gritty lotion so the electrodes transmit well. A gel is put on the electrodes, which are applied to each of the marked spots on the scalp.

The electrodes are connected to the EEG machine and the test begins. Your child will need to sit or lie as still as possible. He or she may be asked to breathe fast, look at flashing lights or try to sleep. The test takes about one hour. We also offer long-term EEG monitoring that your child’s doctor may order to study brain waves over a longer period of time. Learn more about long-term video EEG monitoring.

Once the test is complete, the electrodes will be removed and the gel washed off with warm water and a washcloth. Sometimes, all the gel will not come off and you may need to wash your child’s hair at home.

How should I prepare my child for an EEG?

Consider the following when preparing your child for an EEG:

  • Wash your child’s hair the night before. Do not put any oil, gel or hairspray on his or her hair. If your child’s hair is long, do not braid or put it up. No hair extensions please.
  • Unless otherwise directed, give your child his or her medications as usual. Bring a list of all the medications (dose and schedule) your child takes to the Neurodiagnostics Lab.
  • Your child’s doctors will give you instructions about when your child can eat before and after the procedure.
  • On the day of the EEG, your child should not have any drinks containing caffeine, such as caffeinated sodas, coffee and tea.

Where should I go for my child’s EEG?

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your child’s test. Please check in at the main entrance of CHOC Children’s Hospital, 1120 W. La Veta Ave., Orange, CA 92868. It is located near the intersection of Pepper Street and La Veta Avenue. Parking is located immediately west of the hospital. Valet parking is also available at the entrance. You will check in at the Admitting desk, near the main entrance on the first floor of the hospital. Please bring your child’s insurance card. After registration, you will be escorted to the Neurodiagnostics Lab.

Long Live Childhood

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