Nerve conduction studies are used to examine the (large) nerves in the arms or legs. Nerve conduction studies are performed by applying surface electrodes to the skin. Sometimes the physician will gently rub the skin with a sandpaper to avoid interference during the measurements. The electrodes are connected to the EMG machine. The nerve is then stimulated with mild electrical shocks. This may be unpleasant, but usually is not painful. You may notice that as a result of nerve stimulation, some muscles contract for a short time. The nerve or muscle reaction is registered by the EMG machine. The examination usually takes about 30 minutes.
In patients with a pure small fibre neuropathy nerve conduction studies are normal. The test is performed to exclude involvement of large nerve fibres, as (large fibre) polyneuropathy may sometimes resemble small fibre neuropathy. Some patients have a combination of large and small nerve fibre involvement.
More information about nerve conduction studies can be found in the brochure (in Dutch).