Description of specialty

Clinical neurophysiology is principally a diagnostic medical specialty delivered by multidisciplinary teams led by physicians working with healthcare scientists (clinical physiologists).

Clinical neurophysiology involves measurement of the electrical activity from the central nervous and neuromuscular systems and is fundamental to the diagnosis, prognosis and management of a wide range of neurological, neuromuscular and orthopaedic conditions in all age groups. Most patients are seen as outpatients but the specialty is also relevant to acutely ill inpatients, particularly in intensive care and epilepsy monitoring units.

Advances in technology have increased both the availability and usefulness of clinical neurophysiology and the demand is increasing, particularly in the areas of nerve conduction studies (NCS), long-term video-electroencephalography and theatre monitoring.

The broad diagnostic scope of clinical neurophysiology brings it into contact with many other specialties. Investigations are frequently requested by general practice, paediatrics, orthopaedics, neurology, neurosurgery, intensive care medicine, rheumatology, ophthalmology and plastic surgery.

Increased access to clinical neurophysiology through the district hospital 18-week patient pathway has enabled direct referrals from primary and community care.

There is more detailed information on the British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology website.