Neurophysiology is the electrical recording of the brain, nerves and muscle activity using a variety of techniques. These tests are carried out by experienced technicians and specialist doctors. The neurophysiology consultants who supervise, conduct and interpret these tests are all medically trained and specialise in this field for some years just like their counterparts in other fields of medicine. They need this knowledge in order to understand the problem that they are being asked to investigate and how best to investigate your particular problem. Some of their test results are expressed in numbers but even these require interpretation in the light of your particular circumstances. Many of the test conclusions, particularly for EEG and EMG, are very dependent on the person doing the test and their interpretation. This means that there may be reasons for my wanting to get such tests repeated and I will explain these reasons where this is relevant to your case.
The specialised nature of these tests means that some may not be available in every private clinic and so it may be necessary to travel to a larger hospital. I will inform you of the required arrangements.
Electroencephalograms (EEG) is used to help with the diagnosis of brain problems. It is also used to investigate blackouts or altered states of consciousness that may or may not be due to epilepsy or similar conditions.
Evoked potentials are used to check the nerve pathways to the brain from your eyes, ears or limbs.
Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) are used to check the speed and strength of the signals passing up or down the peripheral nerves in your arms or legs.
Needle Electromyography (EMG) is used to check the electrical characteristics of your muscles. These can change if different ways if the nerve supply to the muscle is affected or if there is a disease of the muscle themselves.
Repetitive Stimulation (EMG) and single fibre EMG are specialist forms of needle EMG used to check the nerve to muscle connections and are usually used where conditions such as myasthenia are suspected.