Date issued: April 2018
For review: April 2020
Ref: B-384/Neurophysiology/NB/nerve conduction studies adult v2
What are nerve conduction studies?
These are tests of the nerves in the hand, arms and legs, and occasionally elsewhere in the body. Please telephone the department prior to the test if you have a pacemaker or implanted cardiac defibrillator.
The studies are performed by passing small electric impulses through the skin and making recordings of the natural electrical signals further down the nerve or over a muscle. This is usually performed with sticky pads attached to the skin. The electrical impulses produce a mild tingling sensation, which a minority of individuals may find uncomfortable. Some of these tests will make muscles twitch and the contractions will be measured. These tests take about 45 minutes. There are no after effects and after the investigation you will be able to go home or to work/school as usual. The results of the investigation need to be analysed afterwards and a full report will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the test.
Depending on the nature of your problem, it may be necessary to record the naturally occurring electrical activity within your muscles. This is normally performed with a fine needle inserted into the muscle. The small size of the needle means that it should not be too uncomfortable. As with all needles, this can sometimes leave a bruise, and the muscles may feel sore for a while after the test. Please inform us if you are taking Warfarin, or any other blood thinning medication, or you have a disorder whereby you bleed easily and let us know your most recent INR reading, if appropriate.
What preparation is needed?
It is helpful if your hands and feet are as warm as possible. Please avoid hand lotions or creams. Loose fitting clothing that can be rolled up to above the elbows and knees is very helpful. Bracelets, rings and watches will have to be removed for test on the hands, and socks or tights removed for investigation on the feet/legs.
If you have any questions, or concerns, please talk to the person performing the test before the start of your test or telephone the Neurophysiology Department on 01752 792329