Nerve Conduction Studies and Electromyography

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Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) and Electromyography (EMG)

What are nerve conductions studies and electromyography?

Nerve conduction studies and electromyography are tests to help diagnose diseases of nerves and muscles. A NCS and EMG test is tailored to your specific complaint and the diagnostic question of the referring physician. The test does not treat your condition. Both tests are performed together to help to localize the area of involvement causing your symptoms. A normal NCV/EMG usually lasts 30-60 minutes. There is no lasting effect from the test.

The test involves two parts:

1. Nerve conduction studies (NCS)

Recording electrodes are applied to the muscle being examined. The nerve is then stimulated with a small electric current. You might feel a tingle or your muscles may twitch.

2. Electromyography (EMG)

A sterile needle electrode is inserted into a muscle to “listen” to the electrical activity while you contract and relax the muscle. Nothing will be injected. You will feel the poke of the needle.

Who will perform the test?

Your NCS and EMG will be performed by Dr. Tanya Fatimi or Dr. Yvonne Zaharakis. All doctors are board-certified neurologists with the American Board of Pyschiatry and Neurology. They have completed fellowship training in nerve conduction studies, electromyography, and neuromuscular disease. They have extensive experience in performing these tests.

I am scared and I am not sure if I can go through with the test. What should I do?

We understand that NCS and EMG are uncomfortable. Very few patients are unable to tolerate the test. However, if at any point in the test you wish to stop, simply inform the doctor.

To prepare for the test:

  • Do not wear lotion, bath oils, or creams on the day of your appointment. This makes it difficult for the electrodes to adhere to your skin.
  • Remove jewelry including: bracelets, anklets, and watches. Earrings do not have to be removed.
  • You may take all regular medications including pain medication on the day of your test. If you take medication for anxiety, you may take this before your test.
  • Eat normal meals.
  • You may bathe or shower the morning of your test.
  • Turn off your cellular phone.
  • Please notify the doctor if you take blood-thinners such as Coumadin/warfarin or Lovenox

When will I get the results?

A written report will be sent to the referring neurologist (or outside physician). Your referring neurologist will take into consideration the findings on the EMG report as well as any other diagnostic tests you may have had such as an MRI. He or she will then put together all of the information and place it in the context of your current complaints and physical examination findings. Although you may receive preliminary results on the day of the test, you should still follow up with the referring neurologist.