Patients at Bingham Nerve & Muscle (formerly EMG Clinics of Tennessee) can rest assured knowing that they’re receiving top-notch care from board-certified physicians and nationally certified technicians in an accredited facility. Both Dr. Ron Bingham and Dr. Miles Johnson are dual board-certified physicians by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine.
The two doctors and their three technicians also are certified through the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM). This new credential for the technicians is tailored to capture the specialized knowledge, skills and abilities of professional electroneurodiagnostic technologists trained and educated in nerve conduction studies.
The three Certified Nerve Conduction Technologists at Bingham Nerve and Muscle are Suzanne Bingham, Beth Giles, and Melonie Brasher. To be certified to do a nerve conduction study, the technicians took written and practical exams, were supervised by a physiatrist or a neurologist experienced in electrodiagnostic medicine for a year, and worked with at least 250 patients.
There are only 213 AANEM-certified technicians in the United States; three of them are at the EMG Clinics of Tennessee. “We think it’s important that the doctors and technicians be board-certified to increase the accuracy of the diagnosis,” Dr. Bingham said. “Things worth doing are worth doing right.”
Diagnosing nerve and muscle conditions is complex, Dr. Bingham says. “If done incorrectly, the patient may not get the treatment he or she needs or they may get surgery that they don’t need. Hundreds of nerve and muscle diseases can cause weakness, pain or a sensory disturbance. It is very difficult to differentiate one from another.”
A need for experience
For example, a common pitfall for the untrained, less-experienced EMG provider is failure to record the temperature of a limb. A patient with a cold hand who just came to the clinic on a cold winter day might appear to have abnormal nerve conduction. “A nerve conduction study measures how fast electricity goes from point A to point B,” Dr. Bingham explained. “A cold temperature slows it down. The tester may inaccurately diagnosis the disease or a pinched nerve.”
Testing nerves and muscles has been around since the 1950s, Dr. Bingham said. “Now many of us have chosen to focus on it; we’re specialists.” Most people know that nerve and muscle testing is commonly done to detect carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist or evaluate neuropathy, but the specialty encounters many different types of problems. “We see patients who can’t bend their fingers, raise their eyebrows or who have abnormal movements of the arms and legs,” said Dr. Bingham.
For patients, the process is easy. They are referred to Bingham Nerve and Muscle by another provider who wants to know why a patient has pain, weakness or numbness in a particular part of the body, typically in the arm or leg.