Electrodiagnostic Testing

Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles

Neurology Specialists located in Santa Monica, CA

If you experience symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness, you may need electrodiagnostic testing to get to the underlying cause of the problem. Edward J. O’Connor, MD, FAAN, who is board-certified in electrodiagnostic medicine, and Russ Shimizu, MD, at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles have years of experience conducting and interpreting the various types of electrodiagnostic tests. Whether you need to have your symptoms evaluated or you want to schedule testing, call the office in Santa Monica, California, or book an appointment online today.

Electrodiagnostic Testing Q & A

What is electromyography (EMG)?

Your muscles normally contract in response to a nerve signal. An EMG is a diagnostic test performed to determine the health of your muscles and the nerves responsible for triggering muscle contraction. An EMG consists of two separate tests:

Needle EMG

During a needle EMG, your doctor inserts a needle into the muscle being tested, then gives you directions for working the muscle. As the muscle contracts, the needle picks up electrical activity. This test shows how your muscle responds to nerve impulses.

Nerve conduction study

This test shows the speed of electrical impulses through a nerve. Your doctor places sensors on the surface of your skin along the path of the nerve being tested. Then a mild electrical impulse is introduced at one end of the nerve. As the electrical impulse moves through the nerve, it’s picked up by the electrodes. Your doctor uses this information to calculate the speed of the nerve signal and identify conduction problems in the nerve.

When might I need an EMG?

Your doctor at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles may perform an EMG when your symptoms suggest conditions such as:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Peripheral nerve disorders
  • Spinal disc herniation
  • Ulnar neuropathy
  • Radiculopathy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuromuscular junction disorders

An EMG is an important tool for diagnosing the underlying cause of symptoms such as tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and muscle pain.

What is an electroencephalogram (EEG)?

The billions of nerves in your brain generate and transmit electrical impulses. Their electrical output forms patterns called brain waves. An EEG records your brain waves via electrodes placed on your head.

When might I need an EEG?

EEGs are used to diagnose neurologic disorders and to check for the presence of brain damage. You might need an EEG when your symptoms suggest conditions such as:

  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Sleep disorders
  • Head injuries
  • Seizures
  • Brain infections (meningitis)
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular incident
  • Brain tumors
  • Metabolic and hormonal conditions affecting brain tissues

EEGs are often needed to determine the course of your treatment and to assess progress during treatment.

What is a brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test?

A BAER test, also called a brainstem auditory evoked potentials test, measures how your brain processes sound. During the test, your brainwave activity is recorded as you listen to clicks or other sounds. The test is used to diagnose hearing loss and nervous system disorders.

What should I know about transmagnetic brain stimulation (TMS)?

TMS is a noninvasive procedure that sends safe magnetic pulses through your skull to targeted areas of your brain, where the pulses stimulate brain activity. It’s currently used to treat migraines, concussion, fibromyalgia, and other pain disorders, as well as psychiatric disorders. It also shows promise for improving functional movement disorders.

When you have a condition that needs electrodiagnostic testing, you can count on the doctors at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature.