In this section
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a safe and
pain-free test which records the electrical activity of the brain.
This is recorded on a computer and interpreted by a
The EEG recording shows rhythmical electrical activity, often
called brain waves. The brain waves may be normal or show
abnormalities in certain regions. In people with
epilepsy, there may be "epileptic activity" on the EEG
indicating their predisposition to seizures. This epileptic
activity can take several forms and be either generalised (recorded
over all regions) or focal (recorded in one or more localised
regions). Many types of childhood epilepsy have characteristic epileptic
activity on the EEG that leads to a specific diagnosis and
treatment. Focal abnormalities seen on an EEG occasionally warrant
a child having a brain scan.
Minor irregularities of no significance are frequently seen in
EEG recordings of normal children, especially infants and young
children. Non-epileptic abnormalities and even epileptic activity
may be recorded in children with neurological and behavioural
problems (eg. cerebral palsy, autism, speech delay) and do not mean
that the child has epilepsy. Furthermore, about 2% of normal
school-age children who do not have seizures have epileptic
activity on EEG.
Conversely, a normal EEG does not exclude epilepsy. Many
types of epilepsy may be associated with a normal EEG between
seizures. A normal EEG during a "seizure" usually excludes epilepsy
as the cause.
The interpretation of EEG findings in children can be difficult
and it is recommended that EEGs in children are recorded and
interpreted by clinicians experienced in paediatric EEG.
The main roles of EEG in the evaluation of children with
epilepsy are to:
EEG is occasionally used to:
An EEG can occasionally lead to confusion, especially if
non-specific abnormalities or epileptic activity is seen in a child
Neurodiagnostics is located on the Ground Floor, just off Main
Street, at Specialist Clinics, Reception A3. The test usually
takes an hour, but may take longer, especially
if a sleep recording is needed.
The EEG scientist has been specially trained for this work
and will be pleased to answer any questions about the procedure.
However, the scientist cannot tell you the results of the test
and administration staff are unable to provide results
over telephone. You must make arrangements with your doctor to
receive the results. In urgent situations, your doctor may obtain a
preliminary report by telephoning one of our neurologists.
Q: Does it hurt?
A: No. Some children might find the procedure irritating, but it
does not hurt.
Q: Do they cut my hair?
A: No. The metal disk electrodes are put on the scalp between
Q: Will they give me a needle?
A: No. You might be given a medicine to drink to make you sleepy
but there are no needles.
Q: Will they give me an electric shock?
A: No. The metal discs record electricity coming from the brain
but you do not feel this.
Q: Are there any after effects?
A: No. You will feel the same after the recording as you did
Q: Can it read my mind?
A: No. Your thoughts are private and cannot be discovered by
EEG appointments are made by the Specialist Clinics. The booking office is open from 8:15am to 4:30pm
Monday to Friday and can be contacted by telephone on 9345 6180.