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Neurology Testing & Procedures

Board-Certified Neurologists in Thomas County

The board-certified neurologists at Archbold Neurology Associates have extensive training in diagnosing and treating conditions, disorders, and diseases of the nervous system We use advanced imaging and treatment technology to diagnose and treat conditions of the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system for patients in Thomasville and Thomas County.

Why Would You Need Diagnostic Neurological Testing?

If you have a neurological problem or symptoms that could be related to a neurological disease or condition, it's vital to get an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible. Archbold Neurology Associates offers a complete range of advanced testing and imaging services that provide our neurologists with the information they need to make a diagnosis and recommend treatment for your condition.

For more information regarding your medical situation, call us at 229.584.5590 today.

Types of Diagnostic Neurological Testing

Your Archbold neurologist may recommend one or more of the following common diagnostic neurologic tests to pinpoint what is caused your condition, discomfort, pain, or symptoms.

Neurological Examination

A neurological exam, also sometimes called a neuro exam, is an evaluation of a person's nervous system. This type of exam is typically performed by a physician in the office and may be done with instruments, such as lights and reflex hammers. A neuro exam does not usually cause any pain to the patient.

There are many aspects of a neurological exam, including an assessment of motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, mental status (the patient's level of awareness and interaction with the environment), reflexes, and functioning of the nerves. The extent of the exam depends on many factors, including the initial problem that the patient is experiencing, the age of the patient, and the condition of the patient.

CT Scans

A CT scan is an imaging procedure that allows your physician to pinpoint the location of lesions in the brain or spinal cord. It is particularly useful in determining if there is bleeding in the brain or bony destruction in the spinal column.

During a CT scan, you will lie on a comfortable, open-air table while a series of special images are taken. A simple head CT can take less than 30 seconds. Scans of other body parts may take up to 30 minutes. Some tests require that intravenous contrast dye be administered.

MRI Scans

While a CT scan is particularly useful for assessing bony anatomy, an MRI is best for imaging soft tissues, such as the brain and spinal cord. The MRI works by assessing the alignment of hydrogen atom nuclei in a very powerful magnetic field. The use of a magnet rather than ionizing radiation is another advantage of MRI over CT.

However, because of this magnet, people with heart pacemakers and some other implantable devices cannot undergo MRI testing. Additionally, some patients will find that the longer testing period of MRI, sometimes up to one hour, in a small, confined space can induce feelings of claustrophobia and anxiety. Patients who are at risk for such feelings may be given appropriate sedating medication by their physician prior to the procedure.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan provides two- and three-dimensional pictures of brain activity by measuring radioactive isotopes that are injected into the bloodstream. PET scans of the brain are used to detect or highlight tumors and diseased tissue, measure cellular and/or tissue metabolism, show blood flow, evaluate patients who have seizure disorders that do not respond to medical therapy, evaluate patients with certain memory disorders, and determine brain changes following injury or drug abuse, among other uses.

During a PET scan, the patient lies still while overhead sensors detect gamma-rays in the body’s tissues. A computer processes the information and displays it on a video monitor or on film. Using different compounds, more than one brain function can be traced simultaneously. A PET scan is painless and relatively risk-free. The length of test time depends on the part of the body that is scanned.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

An EEG is a diagnostic test that detects abnormalities in your brain waves or in the electrical activity of your brain. This test can be used to evaluate several types of brain disorders including tumors, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, certain psychoses, and narcolepsy (a sleep disorder).

During the procedure, electrodes consisting of small metal discs with thin wires are attached to your scalp. The electrodes detect tiny electrical charges that result from the activity of your brain cells. The charges are amplified and appear as a graph on a computer screen or as a recording that may be printed out on paper for your neurologist or healthcare provider to interpret.

Cerebral Angiogram

A cerebral angiogram is the gold standard for assessing aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, and vasculitis–all conditions that affect the blood vessels in the brain. This test involves injecting dye into the blood vessels of the brain and then taking X-rays of these vessels.

During a cerebral angiogram, the patient lies flat on a table and a catheter is inserted into an artery in the groin. The catheter is then passed through the arterial system to the head, where the dye can be injected.

CT Myelogram

Because an MRI scan is not an option for people with implanted metal devices, a CT myelogram is often used to assess the spinal cord in these patients.

In this test, contrast dye is injected into the cerebrospinal fluid that coats the brain and spinal cord. A local anesthetic is given prior to the needle being placed in the lower back, and the injection is done by means of a spinal tap or lumbar tap.

Nerve Conduction Studies

If a person has weakness or twitching in a muscle, an electromyogram, also referred to as a nerve conduction study can help determine if the problem is with the muscles, the nerves that support the muscles, or in the spinal cord itself.

During a nerve conduction study, a sterile needle is placed into the muscle. From the needle, small electrical signals are recorded when the muscle is contracted and when it is relaxed. This process (which is similar to acupuncture) is repeated for each muscle to be tested.

Nerve Conduction Velocity

Nerve conduction velocity tests are often used to assess peripheral nerves, the nerves that connect the spinal cord with the muscles.

During a nerve conduction study, electrodes are placed over the nerve as well as the muscles it stimulates. Small electric shocks are applied to one electrode. The physician analyzes the time it takes for these electrical pulses to reach the other electrode to determine if a disease of the peripheral nerves is the cause of pain, weakness, or numbness in the muscle.

Lumbar Puncture

Examining cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that bathes and protects our brain and spinal cord can help determine if an infection or tumor has spread to other parts of the body. During this procedure, the patient is placed on their side with knees tucked to the chest in a fetal position. An area in the middle of the low back is numbed with a local anesthetic and a needle is then inserted and fluid removed. The procedure generally takes less than a minute or two.

If you would like to schedule a neurological test, call us at 229.584.5590 or reach out using our online form.

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