The St. Luke’s Center for Neuroscience is dedicated to expert care of conditions of the nervous system.

SSER or SSEP (Somato-Sensory Evoked Response/Potential)

SSER is a test used to check the sensory nerve paths from your arms or legs through the spinal cord to the brain.

What should I do to get ready for the rest?

  • If you take medicines, take them as you usually would.
  • If your doctor has prescribed Valium for this test, wait until you get to the hospital to take it.
  • You must bring someone with you to drive you home.
  • You need to be relaxed and even asleep (if possible) for the test, so try to get less than normal sleep the night before.
  • Do not use any lotions, oil or powders on your skin after bathing.

How long does the test take?

  • Only arms or legs - 2 hours
  • Both arms or legs - 3 hours

How is the test done?

This test will be done while you lie back in the reclining chair or lie down on an exam table. You may be asked to give a short medical history, including the medicines you are currently taking.

The technologist will then apply disks (electrodes) with a thick paste on parts of your body such as your head, spine, arms or legs. The technologist will apply mild electrical currents over the nerves in your wrist or ankles. You may feel some discomfort, but not pain. It feels like a tapping on your skin. No needles are involved. You may feel your muscles twitch, but the test will not harm you.

What happens after the test?

Before you leave, all the electrodes and paste will be removed. If you took medicine to help you relax, someone will need to drive you home. You may feel sleepy for some time afterwards. You can then return to your normal routine.

When will I get the results of the test?

You doctor will tell you the results of the test. If you have not heard from your doctor after one week, you should call your doctor and ask for the results.

What if I have questions about the test?

Your questions are very important to us. If you have any questions about the test or how it is done, please ask us.