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EEG for Epilepsy: Seizures Diagnosis

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Shukla
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dr shukla neurologist tx
Medically reviewed by Dr. Shukla

EEG plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and management of convulsions. EEG is a non-invasive technique. It measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. It captures the synchronized electrical potentials generated by the brain’s neurons. And it provides valuable insights into the underlying neural activity.

In the context of convulsions, the EEG test serves as a powerful tool for diagnosing seizures. It distinguishes them from other conditions and monitors the effectiveness of treatments. The recordings can reveal distinctive patterns associated with convulsion activity, such as:

  • Sharp waves.
  • Spikes.
  • Rhythmic discharges.

These patterns help neurologists and epileptologists make accurate diagnoses. And they can classify different types of fits.

This comprehensive understanding of fit activity assists in tailoring individualized treatment plans. In our article, we will tell you all about EEG for epilepsy.

Explaining Epilepsy

Convulsions is a neurological disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. Recurrent and unprovoked fits characterize it. They are sudden and abnormal electrical disturbances in the brain. Fits can manifest in various forms. They’re brief episodes of altered consciousness or muscle cramps and severe convulsions.

The underlying causes of epilepsy can be diverse and EEG helps find them. It includes genetic factors, brain injuries, infections, or developmental abnormalities. Illness can occur at any age. But it most commonly begins in childhood or during adolescence. The impact extends beyond physical fits. Individuals may also experience cognitive, emotional, and social challenges.

Understanding involves unraveling the complexities of its mechanisms. Medical professionals rely on diagnostic tests. They are EEG for epilepsy and brain imaging. It’s to diagnose and classify types accurately. Treatment options vary depending on the individual and may include:

  • Medication.
  • Dietary modifications.
  • Surgery.
  • Neuromodulation techniques.

Common Causes and Risk Factors

Most widespread causes and risk factors are:

  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Brain injuries from accidents or trauma.
  • Infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis.
  • Developmental abnormalities in the brain.
  • Stroke.
  • Brain tumors.
  • Certain metabolic disorders.

Risk factors for seizures that need EEG test for illness :

  • Family history of condition.
  • Age – illness can develop at any age, but it’s more common in young children and older adults.
  • Sex – certain types of condition may be more prevalent in males or females.
  • Head injuries, especially those involving loss of consciousness.
  • Brain infections or diseases.
  • Prenatal factors, such as maternal drug use or infections during pregnancy.
  • Stroke or other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Exposure to environmental toxins.

Different Types of Seizures 

Types of seizures that EEG test for illness detects:

  1. Generalized Fits:
  • Absence fits (previously called petit mal fits).
  • Tonic-clonic fits (previously called grand mal fits).
  • Myoclonic fits.
  • Atonic fits.
  • Tonic fits.

2. Focal Fits (Partial Fits):

  • Focal onset aware fits.
  • Focal onset impaired awareness fits.


  • Fits can vary in duration, intensity, and symptoms.
  • Symptoms may include loss of consciousness, muscle jerking or convulsions, sensory changes, emotional alterations, and cognitive impairments.

Understanding the common causes and risk factors is crucial for identifying potential triggers. And it helps in developing appropriate management strategies.

Role of EEG

The Role of EEG in Epilepsy Diagnosis

EEG is particularly useful in diagnosing epilepsy. It’s because it can capture the distinctive electrical patterns that occur during fits. These patterns help differentiate fits from other conditions. The patterns are spikes, sharp waves, or rhythmic discharges.

The information obtained from EEG tests for seizures recordings assists neurologists and epileptologists in:

  • Classifying the type of illness.
  • Determining the location and spread of fit activity.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of treatments.

Continuous EEG monitoring, including long-term ambulatory and video EEG, allows for the detection and documentation of elusive fit events that may occur intermittently.

By providing objective and quantitative data on brain activity, EEG test for seizures:

  • Enhances the accuracy of diagnosis.
  • Helps guide treatment decisions.
  • Contributes to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the disorder.

It’s an indispensable tool in the comprehensive evaluation and management of individuals.

How EEG Measures Brain Activity?

It’s done by placing electrodes on the scalp. They detect and record the electrical signals generated by the brain’s neurons. These electrodes are connected to an amplifier. It amplifies and processes the signals for further analysis.

The electrical activity recorded by EEG for epilepsy represents the summation of the electrical potentials. The synchronized firing of thousands or millions of brain neurons produces them. These electrical signals are categorized into different frequency bands. They’re delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma waves. Each associated with specific brain states and functions.

The recordings are often displayed as waveforms called an EEG trace. They provide information about brain activity patterns. It includes the presence of abnormal electrical discharges associated with fits in illness.

eeg test

EEG Test for Seizures: Procedure and Interpretation  

Here are some considerations:

  • Preparation. Before the EEG test, the patient cleans the scalp. It’s to ensure optimal electrode contact. They need to wash their hair. The patient is typically asked to avoid caffeine and certain medications. They may affect brain activity.
  • Electrode Placement. Electrodes for EEG for epilepsy are usually placed on specific locations on the patient’s scalp. They’re positioned according to the international 10-20 system. It allows for consistent electrode placement across individuals.
  • Recording. Once the electrodes are in place, the patient must relax and stay still during the recording. The EEG for epilepsy machine amplifies and records the electrical signals over a specific period. It typically ranges from 20 minutes to several hours.
  • Seizure Provocation. In some cases, specific techniques may be employed to provoke fits during the EEG. This can involve hyperventilation (deep and rapid breathing), photic stimulation (flashing lights), or sleep deprivation. These triggers can help reveal abnormal brain activity associated with fits.
  • Interpretation. A qualified healthcare professional usually analyzes the recorded data. It’s often a neurologist or epileptologist. They examine the EEG trace for specific patterns. They are spikes, sharp waves, or rhythmic discharges, which may state convulsion activity. The location, duration, and frequency of patterns are used in the diagnosis.
  • Correlation with Clinical Information. The EEG findings are interpreted in conjunction with the patient’s clinical history, symptoms, and video recordings captured during the EEG test for seizures. This comprehensive approach helps in accurate diagnosis, fits classification, and treatment planning.

EEG Test Preparation

Here are key considerations for EEG for epilepsy test preparation:

  • Medication and Diet. Follow instructions provided by the healthcare provider of any medications. Patients may need to stop using them before the test temporarily. Certain medications may affect brain activity and could interfere with the EEG results. In some cases, specific dietary restrictions may be also advised.
  • Hair Care. The scalp must be clean and free of oils, gels, or hairsprays. Those may interfere with electrode placement. Depending on the length and condition of the hair, you may need to wash it the night before or on the day of the EEG epilepsy diagnosis. Avoid using hair products on the day of the test.
  • Sleep Schedule. It may be necessary to have reduced or modified sleep patterns before the EEG test. Alterations in sleep schedules can help find certain types of abnormal brain activity. It may be useful in the diagnostic process.
  • Clothing. Wear comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the scalp for electrode placement. Avoid wearing hats, scarves, or any headgear that may interfere with electrode attachment.
  • Communication with the Healthcare Provider. Inform the healthcare provider about any concerns, medications, or medical conditions. Those may be relevant to the EEG test. Discuss any specific instructions or questions to ensure appropriate preparation. 


In conclusion, EEG is a vital tool for diagnosis and managing epilepsy. It measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. And it provides valuable insights into the patterns and abnormalities associated with fits.

It helps:

  • Differentiate fits from other conditions.
  • In classifying fit types.
  • In determining the location and spread of fit activity.

EEG test for seizures plays a pivotal role in unraveling the mysteries of illness. It provides crucial information for medical professionals. And it ultimately improves the lives of those affected by condition.


  • What is the duration of an EEG test for seizures? 

The duration of an EEG test for seizures can vary depending on the specific requirements of the test. It typically lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours. Extended EEG monitoring may be necessary in some cases, which can last for several days or even weeks.

  • Can an EEG diagnose epilepsy?

EEG is a valuable tool in diagnosing and managing epilepsy. But it alone cannot definitively diagnose epilepsy. But it provides crucial information about the electrical activity of the brain. It helps healthcare professionals in making an accurate diagnosis.

  • Is EEG a painful procedure?

EEG is a non-invasive procedure and is generally not painful. The electrodes are usually placed on the scalp. It may cause a mild sensation or temporary discomfort. But the procedure itself is painless. And the patient can remain comfortable during the test.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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