Neurology Services

About neurodiagnostic testing

Before we perform a test, you should know exactly what’s about to happen. The more you know, the more effectively you can partner with us to make important decisions about your care.

The following diagnostic tests are performed on both inpatient and outpatient basis. We also conduct bedside and/or continuous EEGs on patients. Patients in critical care often take one or all of these tests.

Electroencephalogram or EEG

What it is: An EEG records the electrical activity of the brain.

Why it’s done: This painless test is performed if you’ve experienced fainting, seizures, epilepsy, headaches or a stroke. An EEG can also determine a patient’s level of consciousness, detect changes in mental status or determine brain death.

What to expect: During your EEG, you’re asked to lie quietly for 20 to 30 minutes while data is recorded. During this test, small metal disks will be attached with a conductive cream to your scalp. The technologist will then ask you to open and close your eyes, hyperventilate or breathe faster and deeper than usual, and go to sleep if possible. The entire procedure takes two hours, including the setup.

Electromyography or EMG

What it is: Electromyography is used to assess how the muscles, and the nerves that control the muscles, are functioning.

Why it’s done: An EMG can determine whether muscle weakness or numbness is caused by an injury, such as a “pinched nerve,” or by an underlying neurological disorder.

What to expect: During an EMG, you’re asked to move a specific muscle as a small needle electrode is inserted through the skin into the muscle. The electrical activity in the muscle is displayed as waves on a computer screen, and may be heard on a speaker as crackles or pops. Depending on what your physician is looking for, we may test a range of muscles. Typically, the test takes 30 to 60 minutes to perform. If you have a pacemaker, it will not interfere with this test.