Electrodiagnostic medicine is a sub-field of clinical neurophysiology, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation. There are two kinds of neurophysiological techniques used in electrodiagnostic medicine. The first is electromyography, where a small needle is injected into different muscles. The electrical signals are then conveyed from this needle into an Electromyogram machine, and the physician will read the results to evaluate whether there are any abnormalities. The second test is Nerve conduction velocity (NCV), where the practitioner applies small electrical currents on the nerves in order to determine whether the electrical signals of the body are travelling well and confirm whether there are any abnormalities.
Electrodiagnostic medicine is used to diagnose, evaluate and even treat patients that have impairments in their neuromuscular, neurologic and muscular systems. This examination usually takes about 20 to 60 minutes, and no restrictions apply before or after this tests. Electrodiagnostic Medicine can be used to diagnose conditions such as: Carpal tunnel syndrome, Peripheral neuropathy, Nerve complications, Myasthenia gravis, Radiculopathy or pinched nerve in the back or neck and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The common reasons for patients being referred for electrodiagnostic consultation include: Nerve pain and tingling, paralysis, neck pain, numbness, spasms, muscle weakness, low back pain and hand symptoms that can be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Patients who have suspected nerve injuries owing to limb trauma can also be recommended for this tests.
To provide excellent electrodiagnostic medical evaluations, qualified physicians must have broad scientific knowledge including anatomy and physiology of the muscles and peripheral nerves. They should also understand the biology and physics of electrical signals that are generated by nerves and muscles. It is also important to know the instrumentation that is used in processing these signals and the methods used for clinical evaluation of diseases that affect the sensory and nerves pathways. Practitioners also need specialized knowledge of the electric signal processing plus waveform analysis, electronics and instrumentation, statistics, recording equipment and stimulation.
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