What can I expect from Evoked Potential Tests?
If your physician has requested that you have an evoked potential test, this will give you some helpful information about what to expect. An evoked potential test measures the brain’s response to various kinds of stimulation. These responses are plotted on a sheet of paper and reviewed by a neurologist, who is a physician specializing in conditions of the nervous system. Although not a treatment, the test will contribute to your total medical evaluation.
Are the tests painful and how long will they take?
The tests are painless and will take 1/2-1 hours.
What is done prior to the tests?
You will be given a time and date to return to this office for your testing. Your hair and scalp should be clean and free of oils and hairspray. Also, do not use any oils, creams, or lotions on your arms or legs the day of the testing. When you come here for your evoked potential testing you will be placed in a comfortable room. The examining technician will measure and mark your head to ensure accurate placement of the small metal discs that will be placed with a paste-like substance on your scalp. This paste will be completely removed after the tests. Some stick on electrodes may also be placed on your body.
What happens during a Visual Evoked Test (VER)?
If you are having a visual evoked potential test, you will be asked to focus on the center of a checkerboard pattern that is shifting back and forth. You will have one eye tested at a time, and will need to be as alert as possible. Please bring your usual eye glasses, contact lenses etc. with you.
What happens during a Brainstem Auditory Evoked Test (BAER)?
If you are having a brainstem auditory evoked potential test, you will have a brief hearing test, followed by a series of clicks in each ear, one at a time. You may relax and even fall asleep during this test if you wish.
What happens during a Somatosensory Evoked Potential Test (SSEP)?
If you are having a Somatosensory evoked potential test, you will feel a slight tingling in your hand or foot that may cause your fingers or toes to wiggle. You should relax as much as you can. Also, you should wear loose comfortable clothing that can be lifted about the knee or shorts if you prefer.