At Northridge Hospital Medical Center we are dedicated to providing the highest quality neurological testing and treatment services. For more information on the Neurology Department please call (818) 885-5477.
Neurology Services provides diagnostic testing to patients with diseases of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Testing performed in Neurology evaluates the functional aspects of the peripheral and central nervous system to aid in the diagnosis of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, strokes, Parkinson's disease, and other neurological disorders.
Electroencephalography (EEG) records the electrical activity on the brain's surface. EEG is a non-invasive and painless procedure, which involves taking a brief patient history and applying electrode leads to the patient's scalp and then the running of the test. This is a test of the function of the brain itself. It is to the brain what the EKG is to the heart.
During this test, electrical signals are recorded from the brain by means of electrodes placed on the scalp. The patient simply relaxes on a bed and often falls asleep! It is a painless test that takes about an hour to complete.
24-Hour Ambulatory EEG
The ambulatory EEG records brain activity for 24-hours on a small tape recorder worn around the waist. Electrodes are applied to the scalp, and the patient is sent home with a diary to record activities and any symptoms within the 24-hour period. The patient returns to the hospital after 24-hours.
Evoked Potentials (EP)
This test determines the function of nerves in the body that are involved with our sensations. The principle behind this test is that if you stimulate a nerve somewhere in the body, the brain should respond to that stimulus. The three most common types of EP are:
The brainstem EP evaluates the auditory nerve pathways from the ears through the brainstem. Electrodes are attached to the scalp and earlobes, and a series of clicks is delivered to each ear through earplugs.
The visual EP evaluates the visual nervous system from the eyes to the "visual" cortex of the brain. Electrodes are applied to the scalp, and the patient is asked to stare at a pattern on a video screen while remaining fully alert. Each eye is tested separately.
The somatosensory EP assesses the pathways from nerves in the arms or legs through the spinal cord to the brainstem. Electrodes are placed on the scalp and along the spinal cord, and a small electrical current, which produces a tingling sensation, is applied to the skin overlying nerves in the arm or leg. Each arm or leg is tested separately.
An electromyography (EMG) provides information on the function of the muscle itself as well as the function of the nerve that carries the impulses to the muscle to bring about the process of muscle contraction. This test records the electrical activity of muscles. Recordings are usually obtained while the muscle is relaxed, during voluntary contraction, and during muscle activity produced by nerve stimulation.
Nerve Conduction Study/Electromyoggram (NCS/EMG)
This test investigates the functionality of nerves that go to the muscles, telling them what to do. The nerve is electrically stimulated while a second electrode detects the electrical impulse "down stream" from the first. Recordings are usually obtained while the muscle is relaxed, during voluntary contraction, and during muscle activity produced by nerve stimulation. One electrode stimulates the nerve with a very mild electrical impulse. The resulting electrical activity is recorded to determine the actual function.
Magnetic resonance spectroscopy is an advanced imaging technique used to enhance traditional MRI images, and it is useful in guiding treatments, including radiation treatment. MR spectroscopy divides the images from an MRI into a grid, and determines the magnetic resonance spectrum for each box in the grid. Certain tumors display a characteristic spectroscopic "fingerprint," allowing the boxes containing tumor to be distinguished from those containing normal tissue.
Advances in technology are making it possible for patients to receive precise treatment for aneurysms and malformations of the blood vessels in the brain without the need for delicate surgeries. This remarkable technology allows doctors to view 3D images of even small aneurysms and blood vessel abnormalities to allow better treatment.
Additionally, Northridge Hospital's Surgical Services has a specially designed Neuro Spine Suite where minimally invasive procedures are aided by the use of a neuro microscope. The microscope magnifies incisions by displaying digital real-time images on a plasma screen located in the suite.