How Much Does an EEG Test Cost?

Written by: Staff

An EEG test, also referred to as an electroencephalography, will measure the electrical activity inside the brain and is often used as part of a diagnosis to help treat sleep disorders, head injuries, tumors, epilepsy and sleep disorders, to name a few.

During this test, small metal discs with thin wires are pasted to your scalp and are designed to detect electrical charges that come from your brain cells.  These charges, once received, are amplified and will appear as a graph on the computer screen.

EEG Test Cost
”Volunteer Duty” Psychology Testing” (CC BY 2.0) by Tim Sheerman-Chase

The cost of an EEG test

The cost of an EEG test will depend on your geographical location, where the test is performed and if you’re using your health insurance policy.  If you’re covered by health insurance, then the typical out-of-pocket costs will depend on your health insurance plans.

For those who do not have a health insurance policy and plan on paying out of pocket, then the costs can range anywhere from $250 to $950, but the costs can greatly increase if you needed extended monitoring.  If the test is performed at a hospital, for instance, be prepared to pay much more in comparison to having it done inside the doctor’s office or a third-party laboratory., for instance, had a few providers in its system offering the test for about $450.

What is an EEG test?

Short for electroencephalography, this non-invasive, pain-free test is used to detect your brain activity.  Since your brain cells communicate with each other in the form of an impulse, this test will record these waves and display the results on the computer in the form of wavy lines, similar to that of a heartbeat pattern.  During the test, your physician will pay close attention to the brain activity results on the computer, and if any abnormalities are noticed, it could help rule out a condition and/or help the physician understand how the brain is functioning.

With the results, your doctor can diagnose epilepsy, types of seizures, internal head injuries, dementia, strokes, inflammation (Encephalitis), sleep disorders and also find out if a person is in a coma.  In some cases, this test can also be used to check on the brain activity during a surgical procedure.

Preparing for the test

According to, the preparation is minimal, but the hair should be clear of any oils, sprays and/or conditioners to help the electrodes stick to the scalp.  In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you refrain from taking certain medications.  It’s also recommended you avoid caffeine for up to eight hours before the test time. states your doctor will answer any questions you may have and will ask you to sign a form which gives you permission in order to do the procedure.

How is it performed?

Unlike other tests which may take samples of your blood, an EEG test involves placing electrodes on the scalp, each of which will have its own individual wires.  Before the electrodes are placed, however, the scalp is first prepared by removing any dead skin cells and applying a gel in the areas where the electrodes will be used.  During this time, the patient will experience no pain.

Before the electrodes are placed, you will lie down on an exam table or bed.

Next, once the electrodes are placed in the determined area, about 20 or so, they will be connected to a recording machine to pick up the electrical impulses and display your brainwave activity.  This process, depending on your diagnosis, can take up to an hour or even more if a sleeping analysis is required.  In this case, a doctor may be prescribed a sedative to help you relax/fall asleep during the test.  You may also be asked to perform various tasks, such as staring at a picture or light, to help look at a certain stimulus.

After the test completes, the electrodes will be removed and your results, which can often be up to 100+ pages, may be discussed immediately or you may have to wait for the results to be interpreted by a neurologist.  Unless your doctor notices you’re having a seizure, you should be able to drive home after the test as long as you didn’t take a sedative.

The entire test can either be done inside a hospital, lab or your doctor’s office as an outpatient procedure.

The risks of an EEG

Considered to be a very safe procedure, there are rare instances of some complications as this can be said with any procedure technically.  In rare circumstances, a seizure may be caused by an EEG if a person has a seizure disorder.  This is often due to the flashing lights and/or the deep breathing that is required for the tests.  Other complications, again, while rare, can be based on your medical condition.

Tips to know

Certain factors can throw off an EEG test, including low blood sugar, body/eye movements during the test, bright/flashing lights, certain medicines or consuming caffeinated drinks before the test.

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