An Electromyogram (EMG) is an electrical test of muscles and nerves. NCS means Nerve Conduction Studies. Your EMG will be performed by one of our board certified physicians. Your NCS may be performed by our AAET certified EMG technician. The in-office electromyography procedure does not require hospitalization.
What is an EMG/NCS?
An Electromyogram (EMG) is an electrical test of muscles and nerves. NCS means Nerve Conduction Studies. Your EMG will be performed by one of our board certified physicians. Your NCS may be performed by our AAET certified EMG technician. The in-office procedure does not require hospitalization.
How long does it take?
On average an EMG takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour depending on how extensive a test your doctor orders for you.
Why do I need an EMG?
An EMG is ordered if you are having problems with your muscles or nerves. Electromyography helps determine if you have a compressed spinal nerve, nerve entrapment or nerve injury. It can also test for muscle disease.
What happens during an EMG?
During the test, you will be lying on an examination table. The test consists of two parts, though at times one might be done without the other.
Nerve Conduction Studies
In Nerve Conduction Studies, brief electrical impulses are delivered to your arm or leg to see how fast or slowly your nerves are conducting the current. This shows what state of health or disease you have. The doctor will attach small electrodes to you and then will touch your skin at another point with a stimulator. You will feel a tingling sensation that may be uncomfortable. The amount of current is always kept at a safe level and patients with pacemakers or other electrical devices need not worry.
As the name implies, needle examination involves some needle sticking. This part tests the muscle to see if there has been any damage to it as a result of a nerve or muscle problem. The needle is inserted into a relaxed muscle and moved gently to record the muscle activity. You will then be asked to activate the muscle against resistance from the doctor. The needle is used only as a recording device, you will receive no electrical shocks and no injections will be given into the muscle. You might have some minor bleeding and you may develop some bruising at the needle puncture sites. The bruises will usually fade away in 1 to 2 weeks and is not a serious complication from the test.
What do I do before my EMG?
There is practically no preparation needed on the day you have an EMG. A shower the night before the test helps to remove the natural oil from the skin which may interfere with the test. Do not use skin lotions, Vaseline or oils prior to the test because they also interfere with the testing.
Clothing, such as short-sleeved shirts, shorts and skirts, allows for easy access to the arms and legs, and are preferred. You do not need to fast before electromyography. You do not need to bring someone with you. You can resume your regular activity after the test is completed.
You should notify the doctor if you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin or if you are on any medication for Myasthenia Gravis.
When do I get the results of the tests?
Your electromyography results will be sent to your referring physician a day or two after the tests. Your physician will assess the results and discuss the treatment plan with you.