Nerve tests are a safe and effective diagnostic tool for assessing the function of nerve structures. The most common are electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction velocity (NCV), and somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) tests. Each evaluates different attributes of nerve function to isolate injury, grade severity, and distinguish from non-neurological causes of dysfunction.
Preparation is relatively simple, involving only bathing prior to testing to remove oils from the skin which may interfere with results. Patients with bleeding disorders, taking blood thinners, electronic implants such as pacemakers, and heart conditions should notify their physician prior to testing.
EMG is used for the evaluation of muscle activity. A machine called an electromyogram is used to measure electrical activity of the muscles in question, and may be performed as intramuscular EMG or surface EMG. In the intramuscular form, electrodes are placed directly into the muscle under study, while surface EMG measures across the skin. The latter form is less useful, and not as commonly performed as a result. EMG allows for the identification and distinction between various muscle diseases, such as muscular dystrophy and myasthenia gravis, among others. In addition, it is very helpful for isolating pinched nerves or inflamed muscles.
The NCV is used to evaluate the condition of the nerves themselves. An impulse is propagated through the nerves in question, and the speed of travel is measured to determine if the nerves are functioning normally, or if there is some sort of latency, a condition often due to demyelination. NCV is typically performed alongside EMG for a broader scope of study.
SSEP is a test that checks the connection between the brain and spinal cord with the rest of the body. It is often performed during surgery to ensure that the sensory component of nerves is functioning properly. SSEP may also be combined with EMG and NCV to diagnose spine problems.
DAY OF SURGERY INFORMATION
Drive to the South parking garage. Free Valet parking is available during business hours. If you self-park, take the elevator from the garage to the first floor to enter the main hospital lobby. Wheelchairs are available if needed. Take the D elevator to the 2nd floor. Proceed to the Surgical and Endoscopy Check-In Desk. Here you and your family will be checked in and escorted to the Pre-op Area to be prepared for surgery. Up to two family members may wait with you until you are taken to surgery. Your family may then wait in the Surgical Waiting room until notified by the surgeon that the surgery has been completed. A receptionist will take down contact information so that your family may be easily reached to speak with Dr. Paul. Complimentary coffee is available for your family while in the Surgical Waiting room. The cafeteria and gift shop are on the ground floor in the North area of the hospital and the coffee shop is in the South area of the hospital for your family’s convenience.
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In the preoperative room you will be prepared for surgery. The team will be checking your vital signs, starting your IV, validating your medications, health history, lab results and any follow up for additional testing needed. At this time, they will obtain your consent for surgery and answer any questions you may still have. Your anesthesiologist will see you and your family prior to your surgery. Dr. Paul, Adam or Kevin will mark your surgical site. You will be escorted to the operating room by cart. Your family can wait in the surgical waiting room. Dr. Paul will call them when surgery is completed. If he can not reach them, he will leave a message with the Patient Liaison. Following surgery you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where you will recover for an hour or more. During this time, pain and nausea control will be established and your vital signs will be monitored frequently.