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Diagnostic Services

At SSM Health Neurosciences, our specialists have access to a wide variety of advanced diagnostic tools to confirm or rule out the presence of a neurological disorder. Doctors now can see inside the living brain with vivid anatomical detail -- as well as changes in brain activity in real time as they occur.

Diagnostic Services We Provide

Our state-of-the-art diagnostic services include:

Medical History/Physical & Neurological Examination

Your physician will check your muscles and nervous system, as well as your reflexes, coordination, sensation, speech, memory and cognition.

Laboratory Screening Tests

Tests of blood, urine, or other substances are used to help diagnose disease, better understand the disease process, and monitor levels of therapeutic drugs.


Your doctor may use this noninvasive, painless procedure can show any vertebral misalignment or fractures within minutes.

CT Scan

A computerized axial tomography (CT or CAT) scan uses X-rays to create a 3D picture of your brain and spine. A CT can detect certain brain tumors and cysts, herniated discs and brain damage from head injury, among other disorders. CT test results also give valuable information about the cause of stroke and the location and extent of brain injury.


An MRI is an imaging test that uses magnetic waves instead of X-ray to produce detailed, 3D images of internal structures and organs in the body. MRI can detect brain and spinal cord tumors, spinal stenosis and herniated discs; identify diseases of the blood vessels, including stroke; and diagnose nervous system disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, and pituitary diseases. In addition to a traditional MRI, SSM Health Neurosciences offers an Open MRI, which delivers the same sharp images without the claustrophobic feeling associated with a closed MRI.

Carotid Ultrasound

This is a painless test that uses high-frequency ultrasound waves to create pictures of the two larger arteries (carotid) in the neck. This procedure helps detect plaque, blood clots, or other problems with blood flow in the carotid arteries.


Angiography is a sophisticated X-ray examination of the blood vessels leading to and inside the brain.


In this test, also known as EEG, small metal discs (electrodes) are placed on your scalp to pick up electrical impulses, which are printed out as brain waves. This test is used to help diagnose certain seizure disorders, brain tumors, brain damage related to head injuries, inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord, alcoholism, specific psychiatric disorders, and metabolic and degenerative disorders that impact the brain.


This test, also known as an EKG or ECG, helps doctors identify problems with the electrical conduction of the heart. When the heart has a defect in electrical conduction, it stops beating rhythmically and it is said to be suffering from arrhythmia. Some arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, cause the formation of blood clots inside the heart chambers. These blood clots sometimes migrate to the brain and cause a stroke.

Electro-Neurodiagnosic Studies

Electro-neurodiagnostic studies are tests that tell your physician whether your nerves are functioning properly or if any muscles have been damaged. Your physician may suggest that you have an electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction study (NCS) to evaluate muscle weakness, numbness, tingling and pain.

There are two parts to this procedure. The first is the nerve conduction study (NCS). The physician or technologist will attach wires to an electronic machine. By giving a small electrical impulse, like a static charge, to different sections of the nerve, our specialists can determine if the nerve is sending its message to the muscles with proper speed. Your arm or leg may jerk or jump, but the shock is not harmful.

The second part of the test, the electromyogram (EMG), is done by the physician inserting a very thin disposable needle electrode into several muscles. The number of muscles tested depends on what type of symptoms you are experiencing and is tailored at the time of the testing. 

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

These scans provide 2D and 3D pictures of brain activity by measuring radioactive isotopes that are injected into the bloodstream. PET is a nuclear diagnostic test that can detect and stage most cancers. PET also can provide early information about heart disease and many neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) Scan

SPECT scan is a nuclear test that can provide information about blood flow to tissues and metabolic activities in the body. It is used in patients with epilepsy, to help identify certain types of tumors, to provide early information about neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and in diagnosing certain spinal conditions.

Sleep Studies

A polysomnogram, or sleep study, can evaluate patients with neurological sleep disorders. Sleep studies help your physician diagnose sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, insomnia, and nighttime behaviors like sleepwalking.

Our expert physicians use a comprehensive approach to diagnose and treat patients with all kinds of conditions – and we will be by your side every step of the way. Schedule an appointment today to learn more.

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