Nerve Conduction Study

What Is It?

A nerve conduction study is a neurological test, usually performed by a neurologist and often along with an electromyogram, which evaluates the conduction of electrical impulses down peripheral nerves. Because nerves conduct signals at a standard speed and amplitude, diseases of the nerves which may alter these impulses can be detected by measurement of these signals.

The nerve conduction study is performed by placing surface electrodes over nerves, usually in the arms and/or legs. The electrodes are used to stimulate the nerves and then record the conduction of the signal down the nerve to some other point. This can be done in several positions to help determine the site of nerve injury or disease which may be causing the patient's symptoms.

What Is It Used For?

The nerve conduction test provides physicians with information about the functioning of the peripheral nerves including both the type of dysfunction and the likely location of its cause. This can be used to help diagnose various diseases that impact the nerves. Some pathologies of the peripheral nerves for which work-up can include a nerve conduction test include peripheral nerve tumors, neuropathies, traumatic nerve injuries, nerve entrapments (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) and various diseases of the spine which involve the nerves as the enter or leave the spinal cord.

The information supplied by the test can aid in the diagnosis of these disorders and in some cases can help direct treatment as well. For example, it may direct a surgeon to the likely site of injury of the nerve so that their treatment can be focused on the correct area.

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Important Note: This site is not intended to offer medical advice. Every patient is different, and only your personal physician can help to counsel you about what is best for your situation. What we offer is general reference information about various disorders and treatments for your education.

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