Disorders of the peripheral nerve system (PNS) are heterogeneous and may involve motor fibers, sensory fibers, small myelinated and unmyelinated fibers and autonomic nerve fibers, with variable anatomical distribution (single nerves, several different nerves, symmetrical affection of all nerves, plexus, or root lesions). Furthermore pathological processes may result in either demyelination, axonal degeneration or both. In order to reach an exact diagnosis of any neuropathy electrophysiological studies are crucial to obtain information about these variables. Conventional electrophysiological methods including nerve conduction studies and electromyography used in the study of patients suspected of having a neuropathy and the significance of the findings are discussed in detail and more novel and experimental methods are mentioned. Diagnostic considerations are based on a flow chart classifying neuropathies into eight categories based on mode of onset, distribution, and electrophysiological findings, and the electrophysiological characteristics in each type of neuropathy are discussed.
Handbook of Clinical Neurology: Peripheral Nerve Disorders, 2013, Vol 115, p. 81-114