SSEP Test

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A Full services from a SSEP Test

SSEP stands for “Somatosensory Evoked Potentials”, which are a type of neurophysiological test used to evaluate the functioning of the sensory pathways in the nervous system.

During an SSEP test, a small electrical stimulus is applied to a specific part of the body, typically the hands or feet, and the resulting electrical activity in the nerves is recorded by electrodes placed on the scalp or other parts of the body.

The recorded responses are then analyzed to determine if there are any abnormalities or disruptions in the sensory pathways. SSEP tests are often used to diagnose conditions such as spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological disorders.

When is the SSEP used?

If you’ve been experiencing weakness or numbness in your arms or legs that may be related to problems affecting the somatosensory nerve pathway, a doctor may suggest a SSEP test. These sensations are often subtle and not easily detected during a regular clinical examination.

What does the SSEP detect?

The SSEP test can determine the time it takes for nerve fibers to transmit a stimulus from the wrist or ankle to a detection site on the neck, scalp, or back. By analyzing the pattern of SSEP responses, a neurologist can assess the functionality of sensory nerves. For instance, demyelination, which is a process that involves damage to the myelin sheath that insulates nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, can occur in multiple sclerosis (MS). This damage may lead to a delay in the transmission of signals through nerve pathways, or they may be blocked, resulting in changes in the SSEP pattern.

How to prepare for a SSEP test

To prepare for an SSEP test, notify the person conducting the test if you have a pacemaker.

You can eat a regular meal before the procedure, but it’s important to bring a list of your medications.

Avoid taking sedatives or drugs that cause drowsiness.

Arrive on time and try to relax; no further preparation is necessary.

What happens during a SSEP test?

During the SSEP test, you’ll need to remove your shoes and outer upper garments to allow for electrode placement.

Detection electrodes will be attached to specific spots on your scalp, neck, and back. A small generator will produce tiny electrical impulses to stimulate nerves in your wrist or ankle. While these impulses are usually not painful, they may cause slight twitching in your thumb or toe, which is normal.

To obtain accurate test results, it’s crucial to listen carefully to the person conducting the test, follow their instructions, and try to remain relaxed.

Special equipment will record your responses to the electrical stimulation through the electrodes.

After the procedure, the electrodes will be removed, and you can put your clothes and shoes back on. Unless instructed otherwise, you should be able to go straight home.

Your doctor or referring doctor will discuss the results of the SSEP test with you after analyzing them.

What is the accuracy of SSEP?

For each study, the specificities ranged from 86% to 99% and the sensitivities from 4% to 88%. Among all investigations, the sensitivity was 44% (95% CI, 22%-67%)

How long does an SSEP test take?
It takes two to three hours for an SSEP. Electrical impulses sent during the SSEP will move more slowly than usual if the spinal cord is constricted.
What is the alert criteria for SSEP?
Substantial signal changes that show a 50% reduction in peak-to-peak amplitude and a 10% increase in latency should be reported to the operating surgeon and may indicate functional abnormalities in the nervous system.
What are the side effects of SSEP?
The electrical impulses utilised as the stimulus during the SSEP testing technique are typically quite tiny and harmless. Although there is a small potential that the electrodes will cause some mild skin irritation, side effects from the operation are extremely uncommon.

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