What to Expect - Electroencephalogram (EEG) Testing

Electroencephalogram EEG Test

Your doctor has ordered an electroencephalogram (EEG) test. An EEG is a painless test during which electrodes are placed on your scalp by using a conductive paste. The test gives your doctor information about your brain’s activity.

What to Expect

Cottage EEG Health Care Providers

Cottage Health EEG Technologists

Your head will be measured by the technologist and then electrodes are placed. The electrodes are then connected to an EEG machine that measures brain waves for approximately 20 to 40 minutes. You may be asked to sleep for a portion of the test. The entire length of the procedure is one to two hours.

Test Location

You will arrive at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Virgil Elings Lobby to check in for this study and will be escorted to the EEG Lab. Please arrive at the hospital at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

Here are some general instructions:

  • Please wash and dry your hair the night before your EEG. Do not use conditioners, hair cream, sprays or gels. Hair products can make it harder for the electrodes to adhere to your scalp.
  • Please remove hair extensions, weaves and toupees before coming to the procedure.
  • You may eat, drink and take prescribed medications as usual.
  • If you have excessive coughing, sneezing, a fever, difficulty breathing or any other flu-like symptoms, please reschedule your appointment.
  • If the study is for a child, please bring their favorite toy, blanket or stuffed animal.
  • If the child is very young, or unable to hold still for the placement of the electrodes, it may be necessary to swaddle your child for the test. We will welcome your help with this.

Contact Us

If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please call (805) 569-8282 or (805) 699-8063.

If your physician or health care provider has ordered a sleep-deprived EEG (adult or child), please go to sleep two hours later than normal and wake up two hours earlier than normal. 

  • Avoid caffeine or any other stimulants to stay awake (for example, coffee, tea, soda).
  • Do not sleep in the car or while waiting for the EEG.

After the Test

  • The electrodes will be removed with a damp cloth.
  • Your hair may be slightly damp after the electrodes are removed. You may bring a scarf or cap with you.
  • The referring provider will follow up with you to provide results. Please call their office to make an appointment.
  • If you develop any skin irritation on your scalp, please call your provider’s office.

Cottage Locations

Support Group

Doctor speaking with a patient

Cottage Epilepsy Center offers a support group for patients and their families to discuss issues related to the condition and the affect that it has on the patient and family unit. For more information call, 805-832-3633.