Nerve Conduction Study
What is a nerve conduction study?
A nerve conduction study is an outpatient investigation designed to assess the health of a nerve by measuring the speed at which an electrical impulse passes through it. This provides important information about whether a nerve is damaged or being compressed by surrounding structures, such as can happen with thoracic outlet syndrome.
How is a nerve conduction study performed?
The study is performed by attaching small electrodes to the skin overlying the nerve being tested. From these electrodes small electrical charges pass through the skin to stimulate the underlying nerve, whose electrical activity is recorded downstream by a separate electrode. The speed at which the electrical impulse travels is calculated by measuring the distance between each electrode and the time it takes for the electrical impulse to travel that distance.
Is a nerve conduction study painful?
As the electrical signals are generated you will feel a tingling sensation which may be uncomfortable, but is not painful. The muscles supplied by the nerve may twitch briefly during the test.
When will I be able to return to work?
There are no lasting effects following completion of the test, and you will be able to return to work and drive once the test is completed. Your surgeon will review you with the results of the nerve conduction study, with a view to planning any futher intervention as indicated.