Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
The EEG, also known as a brain wave test, is a key tool in the diagnosis and management of epilepsy and other seizure disorders. It is also used to assist in the diagnosis of brain damage and diseases such as strokes, tumors, encephalitis, mental retardation,...
and sleep disorders. The results of the test can distinguish psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, paranoia, and depression from degenerative mental disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. An EEG may also be used to monitor brain activity during surgery to assess the effects of anesthesia. It is also used to determine brain status and brain death.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the measurement of electrical activity produced by the brain as recorded from electrodes placed on the scalp.
Just as the activity in a computer can be understood on multiple levels, from the activity of individual transistors to the function of applications, so can the electrical activity of the brain be described on relatively small to relatively large scales. At one end are action potentials in a single axon or currents within a single dendrite of a single neuron, and at the other end is the activity measured by the EEG which aggregates the electric voltage fields from millions of neurons. So-called scalp EEG is collected from tens to hundreds of electrodes positioned on different locations at the surface of the head. EEG signals (in the range of milli-volts) are amplified and digitalized for later processing. The data measured by the scalp EEG are used for clinical and research purposes. In neurology, the main diagnostic application of EEG is for epilepsy but this technique is also used to investigate many other pathologies such as sleep-related disorders, sensory deficits, brain tumors, etc. In cognitive neuroscience, EEG is used to investigate the neural correlates of mental activity from low-level perceptual and motor processes to higher-order cognition (attention, memory, reading, etc).
For a neurosurgery, as for any other surgery, it's important to always bring x-rays and any other medical records the patients has.
-Dr Catherine McAuley
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