ELECTROMYOGRAHY AND NERVE CONDUCTION STUDIES:

An electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction studies are tests that evaluate the electrical function of muscles and nerves. They are usually performed together, and are most commonly used to diagnose the following disorders:

Carpal tunnel syndrome
Sciatica
Peripheral neuropathy
Muscular dystrophy
Congenital, mitochondrial, and metabolic myopathies
Guillain-Barre syndrome

WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN ELECTROMYOGRAM?

An EMG tests the electrical activity in a patient’s muscles. During the test, a small needle is inserted into the muscle that needs to be tested. This needle is attached to a recording device that measures the activity of the muscle while it is at rest, and then while it is contracted. It may then be inserted into other muscles, and the activity will be recorded there as well. The entire test takes between 30 and 60 minutes, and minor pain where the needles were inserted may occur after the test.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING NERVE CONDUCTION STUDIES?

While an EMG measures the electrical activity in a patient’s muscles, nerve conduction studies evaluate the activity of the nerves. It is typically performed right before an EMG and can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. During the test, several flat metal disc electrodes are attached to the skin. Brief, electrical pulses are then sent to the nerve, and the nerve conduction velocity (NCV) is recorded. The nerves may also be tested on the other side of the body for comparison.
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