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Diagnostic Tests for Peripheral Neuropathy

Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy begins with a thorough review of the patient’s health history and a physical exam. The neurosurgeon will ask questions to understand symptoms and when they started. He or she will evaluate the patient’s reflexes, muscle strength, range of motion, and reactions to sensory stimulus. Diagnostic tests may include the following:

  • Laboratory tests to rule out metabolic abnormalities
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that combines the use of a large magnet, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of soft tissues within the body. Bones do not obscure the images.
  • Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) studies can detect problems with nerves, and is often used along with an EMG to differentiate a nerve disorder from a muscle disorder.
  • Electromyography (EMG) is used to detect diseases stemming from problems with the muscle itself, and is often used with NCV to differentiate a muscle disorder from a nerve disorder.