Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies

An EMG is done to help diagnose diseases that damage muscle tissue, nerves, or the junctions between nerve and muscle. This diagnostic test can help find the cause of weakness, paralysis, or muscle twitching. EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction.

Nerve conduction studies measure how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals. This diagnostic test is done to find damage to the peripheral nervous system, which includes all the nerves that lead away from the brain and spinal cord and the smaller nerves that branch out from those nerves. 

What to Expect During NCS and EMG Tests

To prepare for these tests, ask your referring physician for any special instructions. You should bathe before the test and DO NOT apply any body lotion. Take your regularly scheduled medications. Tell the doctor that is performing your test if you are taking a blood thinner (i.e. Coumadin), if you have a pacemaker, or if you have hemophilia.

There are very few risks or side effects from these tests. Each study is designed specifically for your symptoms so the length of the test can vary, but they are usually between 30-60 minutes. Watch this short video to learn more about what to expect.