Electrodiagnostic medicine is a part of neurology that involves combining information from a patient's health history with the findings of a physical exam and the use of tests to examine electrical impulses between muscles and nerves. These tests and procedures can help diagnose neurological concerns and assess the effectiveness of treatment.
The neurologists at Novant Health Winston Neurology are skilled at administering and interpreting electrodiagnostic tests, including:
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test to detect and record electrical activity in the brain. Electrodes (small metal discs with wires attached) will be attached to your scalp or to a cap. The electrodes measure electrical activity in your brain, which is recorded on a graph. This test does not hurt, but you will have to remain still for some time.
EEGs are used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease or stroke, or to determine the impact of a head injury. You might be tested while being exposed to a stimulus like a bright light. If an EEG is being used to diagnose a sleep disorder, you might sleep during part of the test.
Electromyography (EMG) testing looks at how muscles and nerves respond to electrical impulses. Small electrodes are taped to the skin or are inserted into a muscle with a needle. The electrodes record impulses being generated by the muscles, and transmit those results to a machine where they are recorded. This can be used to identify conditions causing muscle weakness, including muscular dystrophy and nerve disorders.
EMGs are not generally painful, but you might experience discomfort in the locations where electrodes are placed.
Nerve conduction study
Often done in conjunction with an EMG, a nerve conduction study uses electrodes to measure how fast a nerve impulse travels from one part of the body to another. During the test, your provider might ask you to contract muscles or complete other movements to assess how your nerves and muscles are responding to those commands. This can be helpful when diagnosing nerve damage and other disorders.
Nerve conduction studies do not take long to complete and are generally painless except for minor discomfort at the points where electrodes are placed.
Transcranial doppler ultrasounds
Transcranial doppler ultrasounds (TCD ultrasounds) measure how blood flows through the brain. Depending on the part of the brain being studied, a small amount of ultrasound gel is placed on the neck or forehead, or near your ear. An ultrasound wand then glides over those areas, emitting sound waves that bounce off structures in the brain. By analyzing the way those waves bounce, your provider can learn about the way your brain functions.
This is a non-invasive, painless test. Typically the only side effect is ultrasound gel in your hair.
Many of these electrodiagnostic tests are performed in our office. Our electrodiagnostic laboratory has earned exemplary status from the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. Exemplary status is the highest level of accreditation an electrodiagnostic laboratory can achieve. We are honored to be the first lab in North Carolina to receive this status.