Neurodiagnostic technicians at UT Medical Center often are complimented by patients for the excellent care they provide as well as the staff’s experience and dedication. The laboratories of the Neurodiagnostics Department perform several different types of functional studies of the brain, spine and peripheral nervous system. These may be ordered by your doctor if you report that you are experiencing symptoms that suggest there may be a dysfunction in one or more parts of the nervous system.
Tiny electrical signals that are produced when your brain, spine and peripheral nervous system connect and communicate are recorded. The information is produced by the actual workings of the system but does not produce a picture or image. The signals are represented as “waves” or waveforms; and you may have heard people refer to some of the collected data as “brain wave” testing. The data is interpreted or read by UT staff neurologists, who dictate a written opinion or report of its meaning.
The following are services in neurodiagnostics:
UT Medical Center performs several types of neurodiagnostic testing.
- Electroencephalograms (EEG)—These are sometimes called “brain wave” recordings and are used to detect abnormalities in the electrical activity of the brain. EEG is used to help diagnose the presence and type of seizure disorders, to look for causes of confusion, and to evaluate head injuries, tumors, infections, degenerative diseases and metabolic disturbances that affect the brain. It also is used to evaluate sleep disorders and to investigate periods of unconsciousness.
Click here for EEG patient preparation instructions.
- Evoked Potentials or Evoked Response (SER, VER or BAER)—SERs are recordings of the pathways to and from the spinal cord and brain and involve stimulating a specific area such as a spot at the ankle and then recording the signals as they travel to the spinal cord and, eventually, to a specific part of the brain.
- VER is a recording of visual pathway function and involves recording from electrodes at the back of the head while one eye at a time is stimulated with a “moving” checkerboard pattern on a TV screen.
- BAER is a test of the acoustic nerve (hearing pathways) and is performed by using headphones to provide a click to the ear being tested and a masking noise to the opposite ear.
* Evoked Potentials performed for heart problems are performed in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.
- Electrodiagnostics (EMG and NCS)—At UT Medical Center, most electrodiagnostic studies are done in doctors’ offices. The electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) performed typically are used while monitoring the nervous system during surgery. The monitoring is called intraoperative monitoring (IOM).
- Intraoperative Monitoring Service (IOM)—Your surgeon can best decide if IOM will help during your surgery.
- IOM can utilize EEG, SER, VER, BAER, EMG and other types of neurodiagnostics to keep surgeons informed of nervous system function while they are performing the surgery.
The Epilepsy Clinic is a comprehensive clinic that encompasses diagnosis, medical and neurosurgical treatment, and management of adults and children with epilepsy. Treatments for epilepsy include drug therapy, healthy diet and surgery.
The following services are available to patients:
- Complete evaluation
- Medical management
- Surgical intervention
- Long-term seizure monitoring unit
- Complete range of diagnostic techniques including PET and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)