EMG (electromyography) and NCS (nerve conduction study) studies examine the integrity of the peripheral nerves and muscles of the body (not the brain or spinal cord). It is important to realize that you can have a nerve or muscle problem, even though you may not “think” you have any nerve or muscle problems. This test does NOT measure pain. You may have a normal EMG-NCS study, even though you have severe pain.
The study is usually done in two parts: (1) NCS, and (2) EMG (i.e. “needle” exam).
Each EMG/NCS study varies from patient to patient, depending on what results are obtained. As such, the study may take as little as 20 minutes, or as much as 2 hours.
The NCS involves examining the nerves in your arms or legs. This consists of attaching wires to the surface of your skin, and administering a small “shock” to see how well the nerves react and function. These results are monitored on a computer.
The EMG examines the muscle activity in your body. This study consists of inserting a sterile, individually wrapped, needle into your various muscles and monitoring their activity. These results are monitored on a computer. You will probably be stuck 5-7 times per arm or leg. There is NO shocking during the EMG.
The “shocks” during the NCS are not painful, although they may produce a tingling sensation. The needle “sticks” during the EMG feels like a small ant bite, and can sometimes be uncomfortable, but not painful.
Yes, Please notify the physician prior to the study if:1) you think you may have HIV or hepatitis, or 2) if you are taking any blood thinners, such as Coumadin or Aspirin.
Men: If possible, wear shorts and T-shirt.
Women: If possible, wear a loose dress and T-shirt.
****Please remove any watches or rings you might be wearing on BOTH your hands/fingers****
Please DO NOT use any Lotion or Cream on the day of the test. Such Lotions or Creams will make it difficult to perform the study.
If you have accidentally used any type of lotion or cream on your hands or feet, PLEASE wash BOTH your hands and feet with soap and water in the office restroom, BEFORE entering the exam room.
The physician who ordered the test should have the results within the next seven working days.