Electrodiagnostic medicine is the electrophysiologic evaluation of muscle and nerve injury and disease processes via electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS). In simple terms, our bodies are run on electricity. Most people are familiar with an EKG. An EKG measures the electric activity of the heart muscle. An EMG needle examination measures the electric activity of skeletal muscles which are the muscles found in our upper limbs, lower limbs and back.
It is the American Academy of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicines’ (AANEM) position that physician performing an electrodiagnostic study have “special training in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological and neuromuscular diseases and in the application of particular neurophysiologic techniques to study these disorders.”
The AANEM has indicated that physicians with training in physical medicine and rehabilitation have the detailed medical education including the anatomy, neuromuscular physiology and pathophysiology of muscle and nerve injuries and disease processes. Physiatrists also understand the electrophysiology and clinical aspects of neurological and musculoskeletal conditions upon which to perform electrodiagnostic testing to the proper standard of care.
Please note that unfortunately there are technicians who may only have a high school diploma as well as physical therapists, who “perform” electrodiagnostic testing. In Dr. Hennessey and Dr. Kozakiewicz’ professional medical opinion, this clearly does not measure up to the level of care they would wish their parents to receive! Electrodiagnostic medicine is just that – medicine! The process of diagnosing should be completed by a medical doctor. In this instance, the only specialty as noted by the American Board of Medical Specialties with required training in electrodiagnostic medicine is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Dr. Hennessey and Dr. Kozakiewicz take a detail neuromuscular clinical history, perform a clinical neuromuscular examination and the electrodiagnostic evaluation. There is no other staff involved as it is up to the doctor to diagnose and treat the patient.
Nerve conduction studies remain the gold standard for the electrodiagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. An EMG needle examination, including evaluation of the paraspinal muscles of the cervical and lumbar regions, serve as the gold standard for the electrodiagnosis of a cervical radiculopathy or lumbosacral radiculopathy.
Dr. Hennessey and Dr. Kozakiewicz both have been trained by national experts in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and both physicians are also published in book chapter and peer-reviewed scientific medical research article form in regard to the topic related to electrodiagnostic medicine. The doctors are happy to review electrodiagnostic data to determine whether or not it supports a diagnosis in question. Both doctors are also readily available to perform electrodiagnostic testing to help confirm a diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis for any patient with a traumatic nerve injury.