Neurophysiology

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The Clinical Neurophysiology service at MSK provides a broad range of diagnostic services.

At MSK, we are dedicated to providing exceptional care and treatment of patients with oncological disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles, by using a combination of clinical assessment and neurophysiological testing.

We are committed to training future neurophysiologists through the clinical neurophysiology fellows training program we offer in conjunction with Weill Cornell Medical College.

Our goal is to provide superior diagnostic assessments utilizing several basic tests.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

  • We frequently use EEG paired with video for extended periods to diagnose complex seizure disorders.
  • Video-EEG monitoring is the gold standard for the diagnosis of complex seizure disorders and is done in the inpatient setting. During video-EEG monitoring, the patient wears an EEG transmitter connected to a wall outlet by a cable. The patient can move about and carry out normal activities, such as talking, reading, and watching television. Ceiling-mounted video cameras continuously record the patient’s behavior. The EEG and video signals are synchronized and displayed simultaneously for observation by a physician. Data generated by this test improves diagnostic certainty and can assist in making treatment decisions, including selection of the right antiseizure medication and/or candidacy for surgery of the epileptic area. 
  • Ambulatory EEG collects up to 72 hours of data, enabling a longitudinal examination of brain activity.

Electromyography and nerve conduction studies (EMG/NCS)

Electromyography and nerve conduction studies (EMG/NCS) are examinations of nerve and muscle activity. The tests are done using small amounts of electrical current and small needles for examination of muscle and nerve activity.

Evoked Potentials (EPs)

Evoked Potentials (EPs) are examinations of brain activity related to sensory stimulation. Three common varieties are performed: visual (VEPs), acoustic (BAEPs), and sensory (SSEPs).

As a group, these studies evaluate the physiology of separate parts of the nervous system. In this respect, they differ from MRI, CT, and related tests, which examine the anatomy of the nervous system.

Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring

Intraoperative neurological monitoring consists of EEG, EMG, or EP performed during surgical procedures. In the operating room, physicians and technologists work closely with surgeons, providing real-time feedback throughout surgical procedures.

Each year, our team monitors hundreds of procedures involving the central and peripheral nervous systems to avoid preventable complications. These include:  

  • surgery for brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerve tumors
  • spinal decompression and fusion
  • implantation of spinal cord stimulators

We work with multiple surgical specialties, including neurosurgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, and interventional radiology.