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Department of Internal Medicine

Department of Internal Medicine

Diagnostic services

Patient instructions for pudendal nerve latency test

The pudendal nerve is a nerve which inervates the sphincters involved in the continence of stool and urine.  Malfunction of this nerve usually leads to incotinence with symtoms of involuntary leakage and soiling of stool and/or urine. During this test you will be required to use an enema preparation before your appoinment. You will be requested to undress and wear a gown, and lie down on your left side in a fetal position. The doctor will perform a rectal digital exam with a stimulaiton electrode attached to the index finger. He will locate the electrode in the path of the pudendal nerve both on the right and left side of the pathway of the nerve. While applying small painless electrical stimulus on the path of the nerve, a computer will record a quantitative assessment of the speed of the impulse transmission. This assessment allows for determination of possible malfunction of the nerve. In general, the procedure feels like a prolonged rectal exam which lasts approximately 20 minutes.

Please administer the enema 30 minutes prior to your appoinment.

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment for registration. If you are unable to keep your appointment, you must cancel at least 48 hours in advance or you will be referred back to your primary care physician.

More information about this procedure is available here.