Information for Patients Referred for a Dermatomal Somatosensory Evoked Potential (DSEP) Study
The following explanation will help you understand the Dermatomal Somatosensory Evoked Potential (DSEP) procedure, and to allow you to ask questions about the test from the staff and/or physician.
Dermatomal Somatosensory Evoked Potential/DSEP study records one spinal sensory nerve root level at a time, and when performed, is always compared side to side & often performed at many levels.
Surface electrodes need to be properly affixed to the skin over the head and body to lower impedance (electrical resistance), and thus specialized cleansing is necessary with mild abrasion to maximize skin contact & minimize resistance. NO needles are required and therefore the procedure is more of a nuisance than painful. Paying meticulous attention to detail is critical. To properly acquire information is time consuming, so one can expect to spend 2 – 4 hours to complete the study. The time needed depends on the ease of acquiring information and the complexity of question(s) that needs to be answered. The examination is done while reclining or lying down. You have the right to stop this procedure at any time should you desire, although, everything has and will be done to keep any discomfort to a minimum. Staying calm and prepared to meditate or daydream will be helpful, but it is important NOT to fall asleep, as sleep blunts the ability to record high quality responses.