Electromyelogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Velocity Testing (NCV)

An Electromyogram is an electrical testing of the muscles and indirectly of the nerves in your body via a nerve conduction study. This test is usually ordered by your podiatrist or other physician but completed by a Neurologist or Physiatrist. This procedure is done in the office and hospitalization is not required. It does not require any special preparation and takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours.

There are many different reasons an EMG are ordered, typically your physician is looking for a damaged nerve or pinched nerve in your body. Weakness of the muscles may be indicative of nerve or muscle disease that the EMG can be used to help diagnosis the problem. An EMG is a testing method not used for treatment.

Testing usually consists of two parts, both of which you will lay on a table next to a machine that looks like a computer or laptop. During the nerve conduction studies brief electrical shocks are delivered to your leg in an effort to determine how fast or slow the nerves conduct the current. To do this, small recording electrodes will be attached to different areas on one part of your limb You may feel a tingling sensation during the shock but you will not feel pain. This study maybe repeated several times in each extremity as there are several different nerves to be tested. The second part of the test is called a needle examination. This part studies the muscles more specifically. A small, fine needle is inserted in the relaxed muscle and moved inside gently in order to record the muscle activity. The EMG machine will record this activity and usually it will amplify the sound that you may hear. There maybe a small amount of pain with the initial needle injection but after that the sensation is more of a pressure. No medication is used through the needle during this examination.

Preparation for the test is quite simple. You can eat and drink as you like, and take most all medications. If you are on a blood thinner you should let the testing facility be aware of this and ask there recommendation as the needle sticks may draw blood from the body. If you are on medication for Mysasthenia Gravis please also notify the technician before testing. Please wear loose fitting clothing around the area that will be tested for ease of testing. In most all instances no sedation is needed, some labs will ask you to take an aspirin, tylenol or other mild pain medication before or after the test. In most instances you will be able to drive home from the test and not required to have someone with you.

Results will be given to your doctor who ordered the test. The results will usually not be ready the same day the test is performed since further calculations are usually needed.

Surgery can be used in severe cases where the conservative measures have failed after a period of time, usually 4-6 months. Usually the area of pain or defect is identified and incisions are made in the paratenon. If a large defect is found, sometimes a tendon graft will be used for the repair. Post-operatively, the period of immobilization will depend on the size of the defect that was repaired and how it was done. Usually the immobilization is between 2-6 weeks.