Nerves control all the movement in our bodies. That’s why your nerve health is of utmost importance to us and why we recommend nerve conduction velocity (NCV) testing if you have experienced certain nerve disorders or injuries.
What is a nerve conduction velocity test?
A nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test is an electrical test used to detect nerve damage.
How does an NCV test work?
During the test, each nerve is stimulated individually, usually with electrode patches (similar to those used for an EKG) attached to your skin. Two electrode patches are placed over the nerve. One electrode stimulates the nerve with a very mild electrical impulse and the other electrode records it. This is repeated for each nerve being tested. The speed of the reaction is then calculated by measuring the distance between the time it takes for electrical impulses to travel between electrodes.
While you may experience a few seconds of minor discomfort, an NCV test is not invasive, and there is minimal preparation required. Your doctor will consult with you before your test if you need specific instructions. You will be able to return to normal daily activities after the test.
How do I prepare for the test?
You may be asked to stop taking certain medications. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions.
How soon will I know the results?
A full report may take two-three days and will be discussed with you at your follow-up appointment.
What do the results mean?
A decreased speed indicates nerve disease. The interpretation of an abnormal NCV test depends on why the test was done in the first place. It may indicate damage to a nerve from trauma, diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), a herniated disc, Guillain-Barre syndrome, polyneuropathy (the simultaneous malfunction of many nerves) or other conditions.