EMG (Electromyography)/NCV (Nerve Conduction Studies) is a test to assist in diagnosing diseases of the nerves and muscles. It is a recording of the electrical activity in muscles. EMG can help discover the cause of muscle weakness, spasms, paralysis or pain in the arms, legs, hands or face. It determines if the problem involves the spinal cord, nerves, muscles or the nerve-muscle junction. Pain, numbness, and muscle weakness are the most common complaints that would prompt your physician to order an EMG/NCV.
The first part of this test is called a nerve conduction study. This part of the test evaluates the health of the peripheral nerve. Recording electrodes will be taped on your skin and an electrical impulse is sent through the nerves. You will feel a tingle, but this tiny shock is not harmful. The second part is the EMG where a tiny, disposable needle is inserted into the muscle. A recording is made when the muscle is at rest and when the muscle is contracted. The whole procedure takes about 20 to 40 minutes. PLEASE NOTE: When you arrive for the test, be sure to tell the physician if you:
are taking blood thinners
are highly susceptible to infections
have a pacemaker
have a history of hepatitis or HIV
How do I prepare for the test?
Eat your normal meals.
Take your normal medications with the following exception: If you are having a repetitive nerve stimulation, please hold your Mestinon (pyridostigmine) 24 hours prior to testing.
Bathe or shower the morning of the exam. Do not use any bath oils, lotions, perfume or creams.
If you are having the test done on your arms, it is recommended you wear a tank top or t-shirt. If you are having the test done on your legs, if possible, it is recommended you wear shorts. Otherwise, you will be asked to change into a cloth gown. Please leave jewelry at home.
If you have difficulty with mobility, you must bring someone to assist you with changing into a gown and transferring to an exam table.
NO CHILDREN permitted in the testing area.
AANEM video What to Expect during your EMG (Below)