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Comprised of our Neurology and Neurosurgery programs, the St. Vincent's HealthCare Neurosciences service line treats patients with a variety of ailments, including epilepsy, stroke, degenerative disc disease, multiple sclerosis and brain tumors. We are committed to cutting-edge patient care and the treatment of patients with spinal and neurological illnesses.

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Angiography

A medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside the arteries of the heart, brain, kidney and other parts of the body. It is usually done by injecting a radio-opaque contrast agent into the blood vessel and taking an X-ray. This procedure is performed in order to see how blood moves through the arteries and to check for any blocked or damaged arteries.

Brain Scans

Brain scans allow physicians and researchers to view activity or problems within the brain without performing invasive procedures. These techniques include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).

Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis

A group of laboratory tests that measure proteins, sugar and other chemicals in the fluid that surrounds and protects the brain. A spinal tap is the most common way to collect this sample. This procedure can help detect certain conditions and diseases.

Computed Tomography

An imaging method that uses X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body. A CT Scan rapidly creates detailed pictures of the body in order to guide a surgeon to the right area during a biopsy, to identify masses and tumors, and to study blood vessels.

Discography

Discography

This procedure is used to determine whether the disc is the source of pain in patients with predominantly axial back or neck pain. During the procedure, a contrast medium is injected into the disc and the patient's response to the injection is noted. A CT Scan is usually performed afterward to assess any changes.

Electroencephalography

EEG testing measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. Special sensors are attached to the head and hooked by wire to a computer, which records the brain's electrical activity. Seizures are detected and seen by changes in the normal pattern of the brain's electrical activity.

Electromyography

EMG testing involves the electrical activity of muscles. It is often performed with another test that measures the conducting function of nerves. EMG may aid with the diagnosis of nerve root injury and other problems of the muscles or nerves.

Evoked Potentials

An evoked potential test measures the electrical signals sent by the brain when nerves are stimulated. These are called evoked responses. The most common types of evoked potential tests are visual, auditory and somatosensory, which refers to the pathway of nerve impulses between the limbs and the brain.

Fluoroscopy

An imaging technique used to obtain real-time moving images of the internal structures of a patient through the use of a fluoroscope, or X-ray source.

Lumbar Puncture

Also known as a spinal tap, this procedure is performed in order to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for analysis, and very rarely as a treatment to relieve increased intracranial pressure.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A noninvasive way to take pictures of the body. This type of imaging does not use radiation, it instead uses powerful magnet and radio waves. An MRI is usually performed with other imaging methods in order to help the physician make a more definitive diagnosis.

Muscle, Brain and Nerve Biopsies

This testing involves the removal of cells or tissues for examination. It is performed in order to determine the presence or extent of a disease. The tissue is generally examined under a microscope to make a diagnosis.

Myelography

A type of radiographic examination that uses a contrast medium to detect pathology of the spinal cord. This procedure often involves injection of the medium into the cervical or lumbar spine followed by several X-ray projections. This exam can help find the cause of pain that could not be found with a MRI or CT scan.

Neurological Examination

This exam is divided into several parts, each focusing on a different part of the nervous system: mental status, cranial nerves, motor system, sensory system, the deep tendon reflexes, coordination and the cerebellum, and gait.

Neuro-Opthalmology

Neuro-ophthalmology is a subspecialty of ophthalmology that deals with the visual pathways from the eye to the visual cortex of the brain. The optic nerves carry the message of vision from the retina to the occipital cortex of the brain as an electrical current. This pathway, if damaged, results in visual loss. Many processes can affect this visual pathway.

If visual loss cannot be explained with a routine eye exam, it is often the job of the neuro-ophthalmologist to determine if there is a problem with the nerves and visual pathway behind the eye and within the brain. This is a challenging specialty and unique within the domain of ophthalmology.

Neuro-ophthalmologists also diagnose and treat the diseases that affect the nerves that control the eye muscles, eyelids and pupil.

Common conditions treated by neuro-ophthalmologists include:

  • Double vision
  • Blepharospasm
  • Eye-movement disorders
  • Eye-related migraines
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Optic neuritis
  • Papilledema
  • Pseudotumor cerebi
  • Pupil abnormalities
  • Thyroid eye disease
  • Visual system neoplasia and tumors

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

An imaging test that uses a radioactive substance to look for disease in the body. Unlike a MRI and CT scan, a PET scan shows how organs and tissues are working. The scan is typically performed to check brain function, diagnose cancer, heart problems and brain disorders, to see how far cancer has spread, and to show areas in which there is poor blood flow to the heart. The amount of radiation injected is safe.

Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)

This imaging technique uses gamma rays and is very similar to conventional nuclear medicine planar imaging, however it is able to provide 3D information. The basic technique requires injection of a gamma-emitting radioisotope into the bloodstream of the patient. Occasionally the radioisotope is a simple soluble dissolved ion, such as a radioisotope of gallium(III), which happens to also have chemical properties which allow it to be concentrated in ways of medical interest for disease detection.

Spinal Tap

Also known as a lumbar puncture, this procedure is performed in order to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for analysis, and very rarely as a treatment to relieve increased intracranial pressure.

Ultrasound Imaging

This type of imaging involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and systems within the body.

X-Rays

A form of electromagnetic radiation that sends particles through the body. A computer or special film is used to record the images in order to detect abnormalities.

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