EMG Nerve Conduction Studies

Nerve Conduction Velocity or NCV, studies the quality and speed of conduction in the tested nerves. During this test, a nerve will be stimulated with a mild and very short electrical impulse on your skin and surface electrodes will capture and record the electrical activities far from the site of stimulation. This will provide valuable information about the quality, function and speed of the conduction in the tested nerves.

Burning sensation, numbness, pain, or change in sensation may prompt your physician to order a nerve conduction study. This test may detect certain nervous system disorders secondary to a disease, such as different types of peripheral neuropathies and inflammation of the nerves, or due to nerve injuries or compression, like carpal tunnel syndrome.

A nerve conduction velocity test is often followed by an electromyography test to rule out or include muscular sources of a possible symptom.

What is an EMG?

Electromyography, or EMG, involves testing the electrical activity of muscles at rest and during contraction. It is a valuable component of your physical examination that provides reliable information to help your doctor diagnose a suspected abnormality.

EMG testing may determine whether the tested muscles are functioning properly or not. It may also differentiate between muscular conditions or dysfunctions due to a nerve disorder as the cause of your pain and/or weakness.

EMG results may determine the source of an abnormal electrical activity of a muscle due to diseases of the muscle like muscular dystrophy, inflammation of muscle, or secondary to conditions like a pinched nerve, peripheral nerve damage, disc herniation, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), myasthenia gravis or others.

The NCV and EMG Procedure

On the day of your procedure, please shower or bathe to remove all oil from your skin. Do not apply lotion or powder on the day of the test.

You may be asked to remove jewelry. If you have a pacemaker or nerve stimulator in place, please notify your doctor about it before starting the test. You may wear comfortable cloths during this test or we will provide a disposable short and gown so the needed skin areas can be exposed during the NCV and EMG tests. Changes in body temperature may alter the results of NCV. Therefore, before conducting this test we measure your skin temperature and if it is cooler than a certain level, we may warm your skin using a heating pad.

During the nerve conduction study, small electrodes are placed on your skin. You will experience mild and brief tingling of the electric currents at the site of stimulations on your skin.

During the EMG test, a small pin or needle is inserted into different muscles to measure their electrical activities. The needles are very small and the discomfort is much less than an injection. You will be asked to contract your muscles by making small movements during the EMG testing.

All tests will be performed and interpreted by Dr. Clifford A. Bernstein and the procedure will be explained in detail prior to the testing.

Depending on the site and number of nerves or muscles being tested, the NCV and EMG testing may take 60 minutes or more.