To obtain additional necessary diagnostic information to guide your treatment, your physician has prescribed neurodiagnostic testing for you.
Electrodiagnostic consultations and studies (EMGs and NCVs) are important in diagnosing problems related to nerves, muscles, the spinal cord, and the brain. These neurological studies measure the speed and intensity of electrical impulses as they travel through the nerves and calculate the time and velocity by which muscles respond to these impulses.
Nerve Conduction Studies
A nerve conduction study (NCS) measures the speed (velocity) at which nerves carry electrical signals. This study is used to diagnose nerve damage or destruction. Small, disk-like electrodes are taped to you skin directly over the nerves to be tested and a mild impulse is applied to the nerve. Often the nerve conduction study is followed by electromyography (EMG). There should be no residual pain once the study is finished.
Electromyography (EMG) is a study that measures the tiny electrical discharges produced in the muscle, based on the nerve innervation to that muscle. The EMG is a small needle exam of the muscle used to detect the nerve activity as well as the muscle activity. Multiple muscles may need to be tested in order to accurately diagnose your condition.
Before the Electrodiagnostic Consultation and Study
For Best Results:
- Shower or bathe.
- Do not use powder, oil cream, Vaseline or lotion. Your skin should be clean and free of excess oil.
- No restrictions to your normal diet.
- Avoid caffeine and tobacco for two hours prior to your appointment.
- Wear loose clothing.
- You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.
- Do not take anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen/Advil) four to six hours before your appointment.
There are no serious side effects from any of the electrodiagnostic studies; however, for your safety and for the success of the study, please tell your physician if you:
- Have any bleeding problems
- Take blood thinners or any other medications including aspirin and painkillers
- Have any immune system problems
- Have had neck or back surgery
- Have allergies to gel or electrode paste
- Have a cardiac defibrillator