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Focal neurological deficits

Contents of this page:



Alternative Names    Return to top

Neurological deficits - focal

Definition    Return to top

A focal neurologic deficit is a problem in nerve function that affects:

The problem occurs in the brain or nervous system. It may result in a loss of movement or sensation. The type, location, and severity of the change can indicate the area of the brain or nervous system that is affected.

In contrast, a non-focal problem is NOT specific -- such as a general loss of consciousness.

Considerations    Return to top

Focal neurologic changes can include any function. Sensation changes include paresthesia (abnormal sensations), numbness, or decreases in sensation. Movement changes include paralysis, weakness, loss of muscle control, increased muscle tone, and loss of muscle tone.

Other types of focal loss of function include:

Causes    Return to top

Home Care    Return to top

Home care depends on the type and the cause of neurologic loss. (See the specific causative disorder.)

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

If any loss of movement, sensation, or function occurs, call your health care provider.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit    Return to top

The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.

Medical history questions documenting neurological deficits in detail may include:

The physical examination will include a detailed examination of nervous system function.

Diagnostic tests vary depending on other symptoms and the suspected cause of the nerve function loss.

Update Date: 3/5/2007

Updated by: Daniel Kantor, M.D., Director of the Comprehensive MS Center, Neuroscience Institute, University of Florida Health Science Center, Jacksonville, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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