Electromyographic Examination

You have been asked to attend for an electromyogram (EMG). An EMG is an examination of your nerves and muscles performed by a specialist.

It usually has two parts consisting of (1) nerve conduction studies, and (2) muscle examination. Measurements are taken of how fast and how well a nerve sends messages. This is done by placing electrodes on your skin and giving a brief electrical pulse to a nerve. Several brief pulses of varying intensity are given.

Muscle examination testing is done by inserting a very thin needle electrode into a muscle. The needle directly detects electrical activity produced by the muscle and no electrical shocks are given. Typically this electrical activity is displayed on the screen and played over a loud speaker. This allows the specialist to both see and hear the activity. All the needles used are sterile and have never been used before and are discarded after the completion of the examination.

The time required to complete the EMG examination varies and depends on both the problem you have and the reason that your examination was requested.

The electromyography examination is safe although there may be some minor discomfort associated with the procedure. Most complications are minor and temporary and include local bruising. If you have questions about the examination you should discuss them with the doctor performing the EMG at the time of your appointment. Once the EMG results are available they will be reviewed and interpreted by the physician who performed the examination. This report will be sent to us to assist in providing information that will help to determine the type and severity of your problem. The results are not taken in isolation, and, combined with your clinical examination, will help determine further treatment of your condition.

Under rare circumstances it may be necessary to modify the examination and it is important to notify the doctor prior to beginning the examination if you have a cardiac pacemaker, electrical stimulator or take blood thinners.

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