Nerve Conduction Study

A nerve conduction study, also called a nerve conduction velocity test, measures how fast and effectively your nerves can send electrical signals. This helps doctors diagnose and assess conditions of the peripheral nervous system, including:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Herniated disk disease
  • Sciatic nerve problems
  • Pinched nerves
  • Nerve injuries

Nerve Conduction Study: What to Expect

A nerve conduction study can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more. A doctor or technician will administer the test.

You will be asked to lie on a bed or table or sit in a chair. The doctor or technician will attach several electrodes to your skin. These electrodes will emit small electric pulses to measure how long it takes for electrical activity to travel from your nerves to your muscles. The electric pulses may create slight discomfort. The process may be repeated in several areas of the body.

After the test, your doctor will analyze your results and determine the best plan forward.

Nerve Conduction Study: How to Prepare

A nerve conduction study typically does not require fasting. Prior to your test, be sure to:

  • Tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker or cardiac defibrillator.
  • Notify your doctor of any medications or supplements you are taking.
  • Avoid using skin lotions or oils a few days before your test.

During the test, you may be asked to remove items that can interfere with the procedure, including jewelry, eyeglasses or hearing aids.