Electroencephalogram (EEG)

What is an Electroencephalogram (EEG) for children?

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures the electrical activity in the brain (brain waves). During the test small, round shaped discs with wires (electrodes) are placed on the scalp. The electrodes (stickers) are not painful to your child. An EEG usually takes about 60 to 90 minutes. AWC Dubai has advanced machinery that allows for painless and easy EEG procedures.

Why might my child need an EEG?

Your child may need this test to check for signs of:

  • Seizures
  • Sleep apnea
  • Brain infection
  • Brain tumor
  • Abnormal movement
  • Tonic colonic convulsions
  • Starring spells and frequent zoning out.

EEGs is usually requested for children having developmental delays or symptoms such as loss of consciousness, abnormal movements or behavior. The EEG will help identify if seizures or other brain conditions are the cause of the symptoms.

What happens during an EEG Test?

To get the most information from this test, our highly trained professionals record the EEG while your child is awake and asleep. During the test, the electrical activity of your child’s brain is recorded on a computer and is stored on the disc and may be printed on paper for review by the neurologist. The technologist may also use a video camera to record your child’s physical activity to match with brain waves to have more accurate diagnosis. You can stay with your child in the testing room. Your child can bring a favorite toy, such as a stuffed animal, for comfort.                                    

During the test:
  • Our child friendly staff will manage the child to lie down on comfortable couch.
  • Our EEG technologist measures your child's head and makes small marks (easily washable) on the scalp with a washable marker or pen.
  • A well trained and child friendly technologist rubs each marked area with a gritty lotion, so that electrodes transmit well. He or she puts glue on the electrodes. The technologist puts electrodes on each of the marked spots on the scalp. The marking of the scalp and the application of the gritty lotion is usually well acceptable by the child.
  • The technologist connects the electrodes to the EEG machine and begins the recording. Your child will need to sit or lie as still as possible. He or she may be asked to breathe fast (hyperventilate during the test), look at flashing lights, and try to sleep to get the maximum benefits of the recording in different state of mind.

The test takes about 90 minutes.  We may also order a video EEG to give more time to study the brain waves. The procedure is the same but may last 6 to 8 hours or overnight (if necessary, in certain cases).

What happens after an EEG for a child?

Once the test is done, our technologist removes the electrodes and wash off the glue. It can be done by washing with normal soap and water. Your child can return to his or her normal routine immediately.

Our western qualified and highly trained child neurologist at AWC Dubai will read the EEG and report the finding. You have to schedule a follow-up appointment with your child’s clinician who initially requested the EEG to review the results of the test and offer you a treatment plan based on diagnosis.

We recommend following up with your child’s clinician and stick to the treatment plan to get the optimum results of the treatment.

Before the EEG

If your child has seizures during specific situations (e.g. during sleep) please speak to your doctor or the EEG staff about the information for the EEG recording. It may or may not be possible to record an EEG during the seizure episode, which is beneficial as this is when the most useful information can be found.

Before testing, the EEG technologist will ask a few questions about your child even though you may have already given this information to your doctor.

How do I help my child get ready for an EEG

To prepare your child for an EEG:
  • Wash your child's hair the night before. Don’t put any oil, gel, or hairspray on the hair. If your child's hair is long, don’t braid it or put it up. Remove any hair extensions. They can interfere with the test.
  • If your child is taking any medicines, let the healthcare provider know before the test. You may need to stop some medicines if they may interfere with the test results.
  • Follow instructions a night before the procedure.
  • Follow instructions about keeping your child awake the night before, if your child needs to be sleep deprived during the test.
  • On the day of the EEG, your child should not have any drinks with caffeine, such as caffeinated sodas, coffee, or tea.

Side effects

In rare cases, an EEG may cause seizures in a child with a seizure disorder. This is from the flashing lights or the deep breathing that may be needed during the test. If you notice signs that your child may be having a seizure or seizure like movement, tell the technologist right away.

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