Nerve Conduction Study N.C.V



What is a Nerve Conduction Study/Electromyography (NCV/EMG)?

A nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test, also called a nerve conduction study (NCS), measures how fast an electrical impulse moves through your nerve. NCV can identify nerve damage and dysfunction.

During the test, your nerve is stimulated, usually with electrode patches attached to your skin. Two electrodes are placed on the skin over your nerve. One electrode stimulates your nerve with a very mild electrical impulse. The other electrode records it. The resulting electrical activity is recorded by another electrode. This is repeated for each nerve being tested.
The speed is then calculated by measuring the distance between electrodes and the time it takes for electrical impulses to travel between electrodes. A related test that may be done is an electromyography (EMG). This measures the electrical activity in your muscles. It is often done at the same time as an NCV. Both tests help find the presence, location, and extent of diseases that damage the nerves and muscles.

How should I prepare the procedure?

You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, hearing aids, or other metal objects that may interfere with the procedure. It’s important for your doctor to know if you have a pacemaker. The electrodes used in the NCV test may affect the electronic impulses of your medical device. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have a bleeding disorder and about any over-the-counter or prescription medications you may be taking.

Stop using any lotions or oils on your skin a few days before the test. These creams can prevent the electrode from being properly placed on the skin. Fasting usually isn’t necessary, but you may be asked to avoid caffeine beforehand.
You must stay at a normal body temperature. Being too cold or too warm alters nerve conduction and can give false results. There is no sedation or fasting required for an NCV test, although some people may need to take additional precautions based on any existing health conditions they have.

What will I experience during the procedure?

A Technician will attach a recording electrode to the skin over your nerve, using a special paste. He or she will then place a stimulating electrode away from the recording electrode, at a known distance. A mild and brief electrical shock, given through the stimulating electrode, will stimulate your nerve. You may experience minor discomfort for a few seconds.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

A neurologist is a medical doctor that specializes in the study, diagnosis, treatment, and management of injuries, diseases, and disorders of the nervous system. The neurologist will analyze the images and send a signed report with the interpretation to the patient’s personal physician. The patient receives NCV results from the referring physician who ordered the test results. New technology also allows for distribution of diagnostic reports and referral images over the Internet at many facilities.

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