Which electrodiagnostic studies are performed in the evaluation of lumbosacral radiculopathy?

Updated: Jan 25, 2018
  • Author: Gerard A Malanga, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Specific electrodiagnostic studies are as follows:

  • Nerve conduction studies: Distal peripheral motor and sensory nerve conduction studies are often normal in a single-level radiculopathy.

  • Needle electromyography: This technique offers a high diagnostic yield. Timing is important, and the study should be performed less than 4-6 months (but >18-21 d) from symptom onset.

  • Somatosensory evoked potential studies (SSEPs): These studies are essentially of no value in the assessment of acute LBP and lumbosacral radiculopathy. SSEPs are not indicated unless the patient's neurologic signs and symptoms are suggestive of pathology that would indicate involvement of the somatosensory pathways.

(See also the Medscape Reference articles General Principles of Somatosensory Evoked Potentials, Clinical Utility of Evoked Potentials, and Clinical Applications of Somatosensory Evoked Potentials [in the Neurology section].)

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