Nerve Disorders and Damage Diagnosis and Treatment
The most effective nerve disorder and nerve damage treatment options for a wide spectrum of peripheral nerve disorders and diseases are implemented after the completion of state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and evaluation at the Nerve Disorders Center at North Shore-LIJ Health System's renowned Cushing Neuroscience Institute.
The experienced neurologists, neurological technicians and support staff conduct diagnostic evaluations to identify the patient's specific type of peripheral nerve disorder. An accurate diagnosis sets the stage for a successful nerve disorder treatment plan and gives the patient the best and most comprehensive care.
Diagnostic testing is multi-faceted and includes clinical assessments, neurophysiologic testing, blood tests and, when necessary, nerve or muscle biopsies. Additional tests that help form a foundation for an effective nerve damage treatment plan include:
- Spinal tap – Also known as a lumbar puncture, the spinal tap procedure inserts a needle into the spinal canal low in the back (lumbar area) to collect and look at fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
- Electromyography (EMG) – Electromyography (EMG) checks the health of the muscles and the nerves that control the muscles. It is most often used when patients have symptoms of weakness and an examination shows impaired muscle strength. It can help to tell the difference between muscle weakness caused by injury of a nerve attached to a muscle and weakness cause by neurologic disorders.
- Single-fiber EMG (SFEMG) – Single-fiber EMG is a special type of EMG primarily used to diagnose myasthenia gravis and is considered to be the most sensitive test for this condition. Single-fiber EMG is a selective EMG recording technique that tests single strands of muscle fibers.
- Quantitative sensory testing (QST) – QST assesses the severity of damage to small nerve and large nerve endings. The test is used to diagnose many different types of neuropathies, including peripheral neuropathies. It may also be used to identify where the nerve damage occurs.
- Autonomic tests – Autonomic tests measure how systems in the body that are controlled by the autonomic nerves respond to stimulation. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary actions, such as heart beat).
Nerve Disorder and Nerve Damage Treatment Options
Many nerve diseases are auto-immune diseases which means they are caused by an immune system that is not working properly. Our immune system normally defends our body from germs and other foreign substances that can potentially harm us. Sometimes, the immune system is flawed and can't tell the difference between us and the germs. This confusion causes the immune system to attack our own bodies instead of defending them. There are over 80 autoimmune diseases that result from this problem, including nerve diseases such as myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis.
The Nerve Disorders Center offers innovative nerve disorder treatment options that seek to alleviate the nerve damage symptoms by turning off the patient's faulty autoimmune response. They include:
- Oral immune-suppressing medications
- Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) – IVIG is administered to maintain adequate antibody levels in patients with autoimmune-based nerve diseases and decrease the severity of the diseases.
- Plasmapheresis – Similar to the dialysis process used when kidneys fail, plasmapheresis (also known as plasma separation) mechanically removes autoantibodies from the bloodstream. The process takes several hours to complete and is a widely accepted treatment for myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, polymyositis and other nerve diseases.
- Rituximab and other novel immune-suppressive approaches, including symptomatic treatment
Make an appointment at the Nerve Disorders Center:
Cushing Neuroscience Institute’s Nerve Disorders Center makes it easy for you to take the first steps in ensuring the best neurological and neurosurgical care for yourself or your family. Simply fill out our Request an Appointment form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (516) 325-7000.