What is an EMG/NCS?
EMG/NCS's are electrodiagnostic studies that consist of both nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG). These two tests are usually performed together, as they help measure the health of nerves and muscles in the body. In combination, these tests measure the naturally occurring electrical signals within the body, which can help the physician determine if there are any abnormalities present.
Common Conditions evaluated through EMG/NCS's:
Nerve Injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica/radiculopathy, sports injuries, or other trauma-related injuries.
Peripheral Neuropathies that can be associated with diseases that affect multiple nerves in the body, often times in the hands and feet.
Muscle Disorders attributed to genetic, metabolic, or autoimmune related conditions.
When does someone need and EMG/NCS?
Doctors often refer their patients for an EMG/NCS when numbness, tingling, burning pain, loss of sensation, muscle weakness, the skin is painful to touch, or muscle fatigue is present.
How is the test done?
There are 2 parts to the test:
1. Neve Conduction Test: Small sensors are placed on the skin at the site of the nerve being tested. These are then connected to a computer that helps measure the electrical signals. A very small amount of electrical stimulation is applied over the nerve and the response is recorded and measured for comparison to healthy nerves.
2. Electromyography: A small wire is inserted into the specific muscle being tested and connected to a computer and speaker. The computer and speaker help the doctor identify if there is any damage present to the nerve of muscle.
Is this test painful?
There is a potential for a small amount of discomfort during the test, but this is usually temporary and well tolerated.
How long does this test take?
Generally, the NCV/EMG takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how many nerves are being tested.
How to prepare for the test?
Do not wear any lotions or oils on the skin.
Wear loose fitting clothing.
Wear weather appropriate clothing, as your hands and feet should be warm during the test.