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NCV

Services / Nuero Physiology / NCV

NCV (Nerve Conduction Velocity Test)

A nerve conduction velocity test (NCV) is an electrical test that is used to determine the adequacy of the conduction of the nerve impulse as it courses down a nerve. This test is used to detect signs of nerve injury.

Why is nerve conduction velocity (NCV) done?

Symptoms that might prompt a referring clinician to order a nerve conduction velocity test include numbness, tingling, and burning sensations. The nerve conduction velocity testcan be used to detect true nerve disorders (such as peripheral neuropathy and mononeuritis multiplex) or conditions whereby nerves are affected by mechanical compression injury (such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other compression neuropathies). A normal body temperature must be maintained for the nerve conduction velocity test because low body temperatures slow the speed of nerve conduction.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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. During the test, your nerve is stimulated, usually with electrode patches attached to your skin.
You may feel some discomfort depending on how strong the impulse is. You should feel no pain once the test is finished. Often, the nerve conduction test is followed by electromyography (EMG). In this test, a needle is placed into a muscle and you are told to contract that muscle.
NCV can determine nerve damage and destruction. During the test, the nerve is stimulated, usually with surface electrode patches attached to the skin. Two electrodes are placed on the skin over the nerve. One electrode stimulates the nerve with a very mild electrical impulse and the other electrode records it.
Nerve conduction testing takes 15 minutes to an hour or more, depending upon how many areas are studied. Nerve conduction studies show whether the nerves transmit electrical impulses to the muscles or up the sensory nerves at normal speeds (conduction velocities).
  • You can get an infection where the needle was inserted. Your doctor will talk with you about steps you can take to prevent infection.
  • You may have bleeding at the place where the needle was inserted. If bleeding does not stop after the test, you should tell your doctor.
Take a shower or bath before your exam in order to remove oils from your skin. Do not apply creams/ lotions/ oils on hands, arms, legs and feet. Remove all jewelry (rings or bracelets) and wrist watch. Please try to keep your hands and feet warm before the test.
Wear loose-fitting clothing. You may be given a hospital gown to wear. The electrodes for the test are attached to your skin. Your skin needs to be clean and free of sprays, oils, creams, and lotions.
Do not eat or drink foods that contain caffeine (such as coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate) for 2 to 3 hours before the test. Wear loose-fitting clothing so your muscles and nerves can be tested.
Several, brief electrical pulses are sent to the nerve. You will feel a brief, burning pain, a tingling sensation and a twitching of the muscle when the electrical pulse is applied. It feels like the tingling you feel when you rub your feet on the carpet then touch a metal object.