Electromyography (EMG) is an examination of the activity and function of the muscles and peripheral nerves. This examination provides your doctor with important information to determine if you have a muscle and/or nerve problem.
The EMG examination consists of one or more of the following: a nerve conduction examination (NCS), a needle examination, and a consultation with a neuromuscular physician. Most EMG examinations take an average of about two hours.
Please check in 15 to 30 minutes before your examination in order to fill out a patient information sheet, questionnaire, and a symptom chart. You may review our EMG Patient Information Booklet located in our waiting room before your exam.
There is no special preparation needed before the exam.
Please notify EMG personnel if you are taking blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin or Coumadin), have a chronic infection, or wear a pacemaker.
For these exams, small, flat electrodes are taped to the skin over a muscle or nerve. Nerves are then stimulated with small electric shocks from a probe placed against the skin.
These shocks produce an electrical sensation, which is not usually painful. The amount of electricity delivered by each shock is small, safe, and only lasts a fraction of a second.
For these exams, a thin, sterile, and disposable needle electrode is
inserted through the skin, into the muscle to be examined. There may be
some discomfort with the insertion of the needle.
The needle is moved slightly within the muscle while the muscle is relaxed and a reading is taken. You will also be asked to move the muscle and readings will be taken from the muscle as it "works."
The muscle may be slightly sore for a day or two after these exams and occasional bruising occurs. There is very minimal risk of infection from this exam.
You can resume your normal activities after the exam.
If you are scheduled to see your Duke doctor the same day, your EMG
report will be available through the Duke Information System for your
doctor to view. The doctor who ordered your EMG exam will explain your
results with you.
If you have any ill effects from these exams, please call 919-684-5422.