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Neurophysiologic Testing

The following tests are offered through the Neurophysiology Laboratory to assess how the nervous system is functioning. They may be used to localize epileptic seizures, evaluate neuromuscular symptoms, and provide data for neurosurgical planning:

  • Electroencephalography (EEG or "brain wave test") is an examination of spontaneous brain activity. The Department also offers ambulatory EEG testing, in which the patient wears an EEG recorder that is slightly larger than a portable cassette player and collects up to 24 hours of brain activity while the patient goes through his or her regular daily activities.
  • Evoked potentials (EPs) measure the electrical activity of the brain in response to the stimulation of specific sensory pathways. Three common varieties of EPs are performed: sight (visual evoked potentials, or VEPs), hearing (brainstem auditory evoked potentials, or BAEPs), and touch (somatosensory evoked potentials, or SSEPs). These tests are useful for assessing the impact of neurologic disorders on specific senses.
  • Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) are examinations of nerve and muscle activity. These tests are often used to evaluate the cause of nerve and muscle pain, weakness, or sensory issues.
  • Video-EEG monitoring is the "gold standard" for diagnosing seizures and for characterizing complex seizure disorders. It is also sometimes used to monitor stroke recovery. The procedure requires a stay in the hospital for four to five days. Data generated by this test improve diagnostic certainty and are very helpful in making treatment decisions, including the choice of the right antiseizure medication. 
  • Intraoperative neurological monitoring (including EEG, EMG, EPs, and motor EPs) is a specialized test offered by neurophysiology specialists to assess the function of the nervous system during a surgical procedure and to help the surgeon minimize the risk of damage to the brain, spinal cord, or nerves. 
  • The Wada test is a cerebral angiogram (assessment of blood vessels in the brain) to assess cognitive function and behavior and determine which side of the brain is dominant for speech. This information is useful for neurosurgical planning.

Neurophysiology physicians are specially trained in areas of neurology and pediatrics related to epilepsy and seizures, neurologic monitoring, infant development, neuromuscular disease, and sensory physiology. Lab technicians maintain their professional abilities with ongoing training in electrodiagnostic testing. 

To make an appointment for Neurophysiologic Testing, call (212) 746-2340.