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Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography (EMG)

This outpatient diagnostic test is used to evaluate the health of muscles and the nerves, called motor neurons, which control the muscles. EMG is a valuable diagnostic device for determining the cause of muscle weakness and for identifying neurologic disorders.

 

Electromyography usually has two parts. One is a nerve conduction study. This measures how well electricity moves through your nerves. The second part is a needle electromyogram. It records the electrical signals your muscles make when you move them. The results can help your doctor find problems linked to certain disorders or conditions.

Nerve Conduction Study

Before the test, you may be given a hospital gown to wear. You lie on an exam table. For the nerve conduction study, some small, disc-shaped electrodes are taped on your skin. Very low levels of electricity are sent through these electrodes. A computer measures how quickly the signals pass from one electrode to another.

Needle Electromyogram

For the needle electromyogram, a special needle is placed into one of your muscles. You relax the muscle, and then you contract it. The needle measures how much electricity your muscle generates. The needle may be put in several different muscles during your test.

When your EMG test is done, you can go home. Your muscles may feel tender for a few days. Your healthcare provider will study the results of your exam and will talk to you about them at a follow up visit.

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