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The Penn Center for Peripheral Nerve Disorders uses the latest advances in diagnosis and evaluation, including state-of-the-art imaging studies in neuroradiology as well as electrodiagnostic studies performed by the neuromuscular division within Penn Neurology.

At Penn, patient consultation and diagnosis can occur in same day.

It is important to see a specialist with a good understanding of peripheral nerve disorders to make an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, diagnosing peripheral nerve disorders, like carpal tunnel syndrome, often relies on two things--reviewing a patient's history and performing a physical examination.

For other peripheral nerve disorders, our neurosurgeons use adjuncts which includes a combination of imaging and electrophysiology tests to determine a diagnosis. We also work very closely with our Penn radiology colleagues to perform MR imaging of brachial plexus and/or extremities to evaluate nerves and nerve sheathe tumors.

Evaluation and Diagnostic Techniques

  • MRI, CT and ultrasound imaging of peripheral nerve injuries, entrapments and tumors. Penn neurosurgeons also use CT myelography which is the industry's gold standard to identify brachial plexus injuries and to determine if injury occurred pre or post ganglionic level. 
  • Leading electrodiagnostic studies (EMG, NCV) 
  • Intraoperative nerve monitoring including nerve action potentials (NAPs), compound muscle action potentials (CMAPs), somatosensory-evoked potentials (SSEPs), motor-evoked potentials (MEPs)
  • Musculoskeletal and nerve ultrasonography. Penn has a very unique expertise in ultrasonography of peripheral nerve which allows us to use it as an adjunct both in the pre-op and intraoperative setting allowing us to tailor treatment.
  • Peripheral nerve endoscopy

Second Opinion for Peripheral Nerve Disorders

Many individuals seek a second opinion from Penn's neurosurgeons to help decide what the best treatment might be for their peripheral nerve disorder. During a second opinion, a Penn neurosurgeon will review your medical history, current diagnosis and any images that have been taken. It is very important to bring all images, regardless of how long ago they were taken. 

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