The team at Precision Brain, Spine and Pain Centre’s Neurology Clinic are committed to conducting thorough medical investigations on their patients.
In order to accurately diagnose and manage your condition, your neurologist will usually order one or more tests or investigations. Depending on your symptoms and medical history, these tests may include:
A CT (computed tomography) scan uses x rays and digital technology to create cross-section images of your body. A CT scan of the brain or spine is a common test which may be organised by either your GP or your neurologist. CT scans provide a lot of useful information. They are fairly quick and easy to obtain.
A MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a common scan which provides more detailed information about the brain, spinal cord and nerves that a CT scan. Unlike a CT scan, a MRI scan does not involve exposure to any significant radiation.
MRI scans are normally ordered by specialists, but in some situations can be ordered by your GP, and you will need to fill out a safety questionnaire first. MRI scans are usually more expensive than CT scans. As there are fewer MRI machines available, your wait may be longer.
Nerve conduction studies
If your specialist wants to look at the way that electrical activity passes along your nerves, he or she will probably order a nerve conduction study. Nerve conduction studies can be helpful in diagnosing conditions affecting the nervous system, including ulnar neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome.
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans many be used to scan the brain and / or body. PET scans are a type of nuclear medicine. They are often used to investigate cases of epilepsy or tumours. PET scans involve injecting a small amount of radioactive material into the body and then having a series of images taken with the PET scanner. In some cases the scan may begin as soon as you have had your injection. In other cases, you may need to wait for half an hour or more before the scan can take place. The injected radioactive material breaks down quickly in your body and will not have any significant lasting effects. PET scans are usually painless.
Lumbar puncture (LP)
A lumbar puncture involves using a small needle to withdraw fluid from the spinal canal. Lumbar punctures are used to measure the pressure in the nervous system. They can also be used to detect conditions such as meningitis, subarachnoid haemorrhage, and multiple sclerosis. After the procedure you may experience a temporary headache. Your specialist will explain this, and other risks (bleeding, infection and nerve damage) to you before the procedure.
As with most areas of medicine, your neurologist may sometimes rely on a series of blood tests to help them make a diagnosis.
An EEG (electronencephalography) test is a medical test which measures the electrical activity of the brain. This is a non-invasive test which involves the use of electrodes on your scalp. EEG tests are used to determine whether or not you may be experiencing seizures (epileptic fits) and where those seizures may be arising from.