Electromyography and nerve conduction studies measure the electrical activity of muscles and nerves. Electromyogram (EMG) measures the electrical activity of muscles when they are at rest and when they are being used. Nerve conduction studies (NCV) measure how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals. Can reveal nerve and/or muscle dysfunction and issues with nerve to muscle transmission.
EMG/NCV is an extension of the physical examination. Can be utilized to diagnose, access severity, and localize where your symptoms are coming from. Symptoms that alert your physician to request an EMG/NCV includes, but not limited to numbness, tingling, burning, muscle weakness in extremities, radiating pain from the spine, muscle atrophy, or muscle pain.
Common uses of this study are to diagnose, access severity, and localize entrapment neuropathies, i.e. carpal tunnel syndrome, or ulnar neuropathy; radiculopathy of the cervical and lumbar spine; or peripheral neuropathy as found in diabetes.
Risks of the study are low and complications are rare. With needle EMG, there is a small risk of bleeding, infection, nerve injury where needle is injected, and if close to chest wall/lungs may cause pneumothorax.
Alert the examiner if you have a pacemaker, implantable medical device, if you are taking a blood thinner (Coumadin, Plavix, Xarelto, etc.), or if you have a blood disorder (i.e. Hemophilia).
On the day of your examination, wear comfortable clothing, shower/bathe to remove oils from your skin. Don’t apply moisturizer to portion of body that will be tested.
Is the nerve conduction study painful? Depending on how strong the impulse is, one may feel discomfort when nerve conduction study is performed. You should not feel pain once the study is completed. The NCV is usually followed by an EMG
Is the electromyography portion of study painful? Depending on tolerance, there may be some discomfort when the needle electrode is inserted into the muscle. It may feel like obtaining an injection. Nothing is injected into the muscle. Minor bruising and soreness may be present for a few days.
Exam results will be interpreted in a written report, will be discussed with you, and will be sent to the referring physician.