An electrodiagnostic physician undergoes special training in electrodiagnostic procedures. The knowledge and expertise gained from such specialized medical training maximizes the ability of the physician to consider appropriate differential diagnoses in planning and performing the electrodiagnostic examination. This expertise will help establish the diagnosis for your patient, determine the severity of the problem, identify the prognosis and assist you in the proper management of your patient.
Some of the common problems in which an electrodiagnostic medicine consultation can be especially helpful include: carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar palsy, foot drop, polyneuropathy, and radiculopathy in the cervical and lumbar regions. Symptoms such as weakness, numbness and tingling can be evaluated to identify specific etiologies such as motor neuron disease, neuropathy, myopathy and myasthenia gravis.
During an electrodiagnostic medicine consultation, the physician evaluates the patient’s nerve and muscle function. This evaluation is a direct extension of the clinical neuromuscular examination. The consultation will provide you with helpful information in the evaluation of motor and sensory neurons, nerves, neuromuscular junction and muscles.
The physician will commonly perform both a nerve conduction study and a needle electromyography (EMG) examination. During the nerve conduction study, small electrical stimuli are used to activate and evaluate peripheral nerve function. The needle EMG examination uses narrow-gauge sterile needle electrodes to investigate nerve and muscle integrity. The patient may experience mild discomfort during the procedure, but most patients tolerate the procedure very well.
Nerve conduction studies should be performed by a physician or a trained technologist under the direct supervision of a physician. The needle EMG examination should be performed by a physician with special training in this area.
The electrodiagnostic physician may recommend further tests based on the findings of the electrodiagnostic consultation.