What is SEP testing What is its value in the investigation of radiculopathy

SEPs are waveforms recorded over the scalp or spine following electrical stimulation of a mixed or sensory nerve in the periphery. SEPs are conducted in the posterior columns of the spinal cord, which represent nerve fibers carrying joint position and vibratory sensation. These nerve fibers usually remain unaffected in radiculopathy. SEPs are used successfully in monitoring spinal cord function during spinal surgery, and prolonged SEP latency can be the earliest sign in extensive multiroot lesions. However, this modality is of limited value for the diagnosis of cervical or lumbar radiculopathy. The range of normal SEP values is broad, and the test has poor sensitivity and specificity for assessing nerve root function.

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