Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG-NCS)

An EMG is a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them. These nerve cells, or motor neurons, transmit electrical signals called impulses that cause muscles to contract. An EMG is done to find diseases that damage muscle tissue, and nerves and/or find the cause of weakness, paralysis or twitching. An EMG does not show brain or spinal cord diseases.
Nerve conduction studies measure how well and fast the nerves can send electrical signals. The study will allow the physician to find where damage may be done in the peripheral nervous system which includes all the nerves that lead away from the brain and spinal cord and the nerves that branch from those nerves.

What to Expect for an EMG / NCS:
Our physicians perform this study in our office. The test can take 20 to 90 minutes. To prepare for the study, take a bath or shower to remove oil from your skin. Do not put lotion on the day of the study. Tell the doctor if you are taking aspirin, blood thinners (Coumadin, Pradaxa) having a bleeding disorder, or have a pacemaker. You may take all of your regular medications, including pain medications. Try to keep your hands and feet warm, wearing gloves or socks if necessary. There are no activity restrictions prior to the study.

The nerve conduction study (NCS) is an electro diagnostic procedure were the neurologist stimulates nerves in the arms or legs and makes recordings on a machine. The shocks are brief and there are no lasting side effects.

The EMG is a study of the muscle function itself and is performed by inserting a fine needle into the muscle and making recordings of the muscle activity on a machine. Typically, several muscles are examined. There may be some discomfort, but it is tolerable. After the study is completed, a report is made and sent to referring care provider.