Comprehensive diagnostic services in advanced neurodiagnostic facilities lead to the design of individualized treatment plans for a broad range of neuromuscular disorders, from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – often referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease – to muscular dystrophy to various types of neuropathies and myopathies.

Our Neuromuscular Disorders Program records more than 2,000 patient visits annually, primarily adults age 18 and older. Approximately two-thirds are over the age of 50.

Specialized in Neuromuscular Disorders

Our medical staff specializes in complex neuromuscular disorders that are difficult to diagnose and treat. Ongoing research includes genetic determinants influencing neuromuscular disease recurrence and origin. We work collaboratively with the UT Department of Rheumatology in designing research projects.

Our fellowship program in clinical neurophysiology is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Each year we train two fellows who are directly involved in the care of patients.

Scope of Practice

  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Inflammatory nerve and muscle disorders
  • Autoimmune neuromuscular junction disorders
  • Traumatic nerve injuries
  • Toxic metabolic disorders of the peripheral nerve and muscles

Neuromuscular Specialties

Specialties of Program include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, often referred as Lou Gehrig's Disease)
  • Primary lateral sclerosis
  • Plexopathies
  • Acute, subacute and chronic peripheral polyneuropathies
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Focal entrapment neuropathies
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myositis
  • Mitochondrial myopathies
  • Metabolic myopathies
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myotonia
  • Isaac's syndrome

Intervention Options

Interventions offered by the Neuromuscular Disorders Program include:

  • Muscle, nerve and skin biopsy
  • Advanced magnetic resonance imaging of muscle and nerve
  • Specialized laboratory testing of hereditary and autoimmune disorders
  • Advanced oral and intervenous immunosuppressive therapies
  • Intravenous gamma globulin
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Reconstructive surgery for peripheral nerve and brachial plexus injury
  • Robotic-assisted thymectomy

Visit the ALS Association to learn more about support available in Houston.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Neuromuscular Disorders

Once a diagnosis is made for a neuromuscular disorder, we use the most advanced treatment options available, ranging from immunosuppressive therapies to plasmapheresis to robotic-assisted thymectomy. Therapeutic goals are symptom driven and focused on maintaining patients at the highest level of function possible. Medical regimens are tailored to patient age, prominent symptoms and the potential side effects profile.

Custom Medical Regimens

All medical regimens are individually constructed based on the stage of illness. We consult with a range of subspecialties in evaluation and treatment.

Diagnostic Tools

Electromyography Lab

Our state-of-the-art Electromyography Laboratory provides comprehensive nerve conduction studies and EMG evaluations performed by staff with expertise in neurodiagnostic testing. An invaluable diagnostic tool, electromyography (EMG) results provide evidence in support of diagnoses of:

  • Peripheral neuropathies
  • Motor neuron diseases
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Muscle disorders
  • Myopathy
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Neuromuscular junction disorders
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Entrapment neuropathies
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Ulnar and peroneal neuropathies
  • Traumatic nerve injury
  • Evaluation of the brachial plexus
  • Facial neuropathy

Because electrodiagnostic evaluation is an extension of clinical findings, the lab's medical specialists perform a focused neuromuscular examination, including history and physical, before conducting the electrical test.

In addition to nerve conduction and EMG, electrodiagnostic studies available at the EMG Lab include:

  • Repetitive nerve stimulation
  • Blink reflexes
  • Cranial nerve studies
  • Single-fiber electromyography
  • Facial/trigeminal neuropathy

The EMG Lab conducts electrical studies of the lower motor neurons, including anterior horn cell, nerve root, plexus, peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction and muscles, to aid in understanding and evaluating neuromuscular disorders. Studies include:

  • Routine high-quality nerve conduction studies
  • Electromyography
  • Advanced neurophysiologic studies for peripheral neuropathies and nerve entrapment
  • Neuromuscular junction testing
  • Facial nerve electrophysiology
  • Autonomic nervous system testing
  • Pudendal studies for fecal incontinence
  • c-DNA microarrays

Referring physicians receive timely reports that include recommendations for further management.

Muscle and Nerve Laboratory

In cases with limited neuromuscular findings, our Muscle and Nerve Laboratory helps improve diagnosis by finding abnormalities at a pathologic/microscopic level. The Laboratory is dedicated to providing accurate and timely results to physicians ordering biopsies for diagnostic testing.

The Muscle and Nerve Laboratory accepts surgical specimens obtained elsewhere for processing and interpretation. Specimens are accepted Monday through Friday – skin biopsy kits and shipping services are provided at no charge. Muscle, nerve and skin biopsies are performed by specialists trained in neuromuscular pathology.

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