What is an EMG-NCS test?

  • An EMG-NCS, also known as “Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Tests”, is a test of the nerves and muscles of your arms / legs.
  • The EMG/NCS study examines the integrity of the peripheral nerves and muscles of the body.
  • The study does NOT examine the brain or spinal cord.
  • It is important to realize that you can have a nerve or muscle problem, even though you may not “think” you have any nerve or muscle problems.
  • This test does NOT measure pain.
  • You may have a normal EMG-NCS study, even though you have severe pain.

What are the different parts of the test?

  • The study is usually done in two parts:
      • NCS (i.e. “shocking” test) – which tests the nerve function
      • EMG (i.e. “needle” exam) – which tests muscle function

How long is the test?

  • Each EMG/NCS study varies from patient to patient, depending on what results are obtained. As such, the study may take as little as 20 minutes, or as much as 2 hours.

What is involved in the Nerve Conduction Study or NCS?

  • The NCS examines the nerves in your arms and legs.
  • This consists of attaching wires to the surface of your skin, and administering a small “shock” to see how well the nerves react and function. These result are monitored on a computer.

What is involved in the Electromyography or EMG?

  • The EMG examines the muscle activity in your body. This study consists of inserting a sterile, individually wrapped, needle into your various muscles and monitoring their activity.
  • These results are monitored on a computer. You will probably be stuck 5-7 times per arm or leg. There is NO shocking during the needle exam.

Is the test painful?

  • The “shocks” during the NCS are not painful, although they may feel slightly uncomfortable. The needle “sticks” during the EMG feels like a small ant bite, and can sometimes be uncomfortable, but not painful.

How do I prepare for the test?

  • Please DO NOT use any Lotion or Creams on the day of the test. Such Lotions or Creams will make it difficult to perform the study.
  • Please notify the physician PRIOR to the study if:
      • you think you may have AIDS or Hepatitis, or
      • if you are taking any blood thinners, such as Coumadin or Aspirin

What type of clothes should I wear for the test?

  • Please remove any watches or rings you might be wearing on BOTH your hands / fingers
  • Men – if possible, wear shorts and T-shirt.
  • Women – if possible, wear a loose dress and T-shirt.

When will I get the results of the test?

  • If you are an active patient of our office, then the EMG-NCS results will be discussed with you on your next office visit.
  • If you have come to our office only for the EMG-NCS, then the results will be sent to your referring physician within 48 hours.
  • Your referring physician will discuss the results with you on your next office visit with them.

Will the doctor advise me of any treatment options?

  • If Dr. Athni is actively involved in your care, then he will advise you of your different treatment options after reviewing the results on your follow up visit.
  • But, if you have come to our office only for the EMG/NCS, then your referring physician will have to counsel you on your treatment plan.