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Clinical localisation of a neurological lesion

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The basic function of the neurological history and examination is to localise a neurological lesion.

There are several reasons why localising a lesion is helpful:

  • some pathological processes occur in anatomically restricted areas e.g. syringomyelia
  • some diseases present as multifocal lesions e.g. mononeuritis multiplex
  • some diseases present as a diffuse lesion e.g. peripheral neuropathy
  • localising a lesion permits the most effective use of special investigations
  • localising lesions may affect prognosis e.g. multiple sclerosis

The localisation of a lesion in the nervous system requires some anatomical knowledge and a few simple rules.


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