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Neurological Examination

What is a neurological examination?

A neurological examination, also called a neuro exam, is an evaluation of your child's nervous system that can be performed in the physician's office. It may be performed with instruments, such as lights and reflex hammers, and usually does not cause any pain to the child. The nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves from these areas. There are many aspects of this examination, including an assessment of motor and sensory skills, balance and coordination, mental status (the child's level of awareness and interaction with the environment), reflexes, and functioning of the nerves. The extent of the examination depends on many factors, including the initial problem that the child is experiencing, the age of the child, and the condition of the child.

Why is a neurological examination performed?

A complete and thorough evaluation of your child's nervous system is important if there is any reason to think there may be an underlying problem, or during a complete physical. Damage to the nervous system can cause delays in the child's normal development and functioning and early identification may help to identify the cause and decrease long-term complications. A complete neurological examination may be performed:

What is done during a neurological examination?

During a neurological examination, your child's physician will "test" the functioning of the nervous system. The nervous system is very complex and controls many parts of the body. The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, 12 nerves that come from the brain, and the nerves that come from the spinal cord. In infants and younger children, a neurological examination includes the measurement of the head circumference. The following is an overview of some of the areas that may be tested and evaluated during a neurological examination:

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