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Diagnosis of Peripheral Nerve Disorders

A peripheral nerve disorder specialist can use the following tests to identify a nerve disorder: 

Electromyography (EMG) involves inserting a fine needle into a muscle to compare the level of electrical activity present when muscles are at rest and when they contract. EMG can help differentiate between muscle and nerve disorders.

Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) testing can precisely measure the degree of damage in larger nerve fibers, revealing whether symptoms are being caused by degeneration of the myelin sheath or the axon.

Nerve biopsy involves removing and examining a sample of nerve tissue, most often in the lower leg.

Skin biopsy offers unique advantages over NCV tests and nerve biopsy. Unlike NCV, it can reveal damage present in smaller fibers; in contrast to conventional nerve biopsy, skin biopsy is less invasive, has fewer side effects and is easier to perform.

Lumbar puncture may be used when immune-mediated polyneuropathies, cryptogenic axonal degeneration polyneuropathies or infections or inflammatory disorders are suspected.