Overview

A neurologist is a physician with extensive specialized training in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of disorders of the brain, spinal cord, muscles and peripheral nerves. The following are examples of neurological disorders:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • ALS
  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy
  • Headaches
  • Migraine
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peripheral nerves disorders
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Tremor.

Generally, a neurologist acts as a consultant to diagnose and treat neurological conditions, and advises the primary treating physician of the patient’s progress. In order to make a proper diagnosis, the neurologist obtains a detailed medical history, and conducts a neurological examination. Additional tests may be indicated such as NCS/EMG (nerve study), EEG (brain wave test), or Imaging studies (MRI or CAT scan).

The vast majority of neurological conditions can be effectively treated with medications or other non-surgical means. However, in the event surgical treatment is indicated, the patient is referred to a neurosurgeon or other appropriate surgical specialist.

NCS/EMG

This test is often utilized to assess the function of peripheral nerves and muscles in several conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, pinched nerve roots, and arm or leg pain.

How the test is done:

NCS (Nerve Conduction Study)

Electrodes are placed on the skin of the upper or lower extremity, and a brief electric pulse is applied on the nerve. The response is displayed on a computer screen. The neurologist analyzes several parameters of the response and formulates a conclusion. Several nerves are usually evaluated and side-to-side comparison is sometimes necessary.

EMG (Electromyography)

This portion of the test entails using a sterile disposable needle that is gently inserted in the muscle to record its activity at rest and after the muscle is voluntarily activated. The activity of the muscle is displayed on a monitor and also interfaced to a speaker system.

The results of NCS/EMG are reported to the referring physician in order to assist in additional management or treatment decisions.

Please inform our office prior to the test if you have any bleeding disorder, are using blood thinners, and if you have a pacemaker or ventricular defibrillator.

Do not apply any type of lotion or cream on the arms or legs after bathing prior to your NCS/EMG, as this can interfere with the procedure.

EEG (Electroencephalography)

This test is utilized to study the brain waves and assess for suspected seizures, episodes of impairment of consciousness, and confusional states.

Many electrodes are placed on the head and record the brain’s own electrical activity. The electrodes feed into a computer that displays the activity in a wave form. This test does not entail any electric stimulation and the brain activity is passively recorded. Some activation procedures are applied such as deep breathing and stimulation with flashing lights.

The neurologist formulates an interpretation and reports the results to the referring physician.Please wash and dry your hair and do not use conditioners, hair spray, etc. No braids, hair extension, or weaves.

Imaging Studies

CAT Scan (Computer Assisted Tomography)

This test uses X-Ray beams and a computer to construct imaging slices of the brain or the spine. Sometimes a contrast material is injected into a vein prior to the test. The test is harmless and takes only several minutes to be completed.

MRI Scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

With the help of a magnetic field and radio-frequency waves, a detailed image of the brain or the spine is constructed in 3 dimensions. No x-rays or radiation is used. Sometimes a contrast material is injected into a vein prior to the test. The test may take up to 45 minutes to complete.