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How to Prepare for Your EMG and NCV Studies

  1. Eat normally and take your medications as usual.

  2. Please make sure the area to be tested is clean. Scrub the body part to be tested to remove any body oils on the day of the test. DO NOT USE ANY BATH OIL, LOTIONS, VASELINE, MAKEUP OR CREAMS on the area to be tested 24 hours before your appointment time.

  3. If you have any open sores or wounds in the area to be tested please call the office before your appointment as it's possible we may not be able to perform the test.

  4. If you’re being tested on the upper extremities (hands and arms), if possible, please wear a loose, short-sleeved shirt or bring one with you. If you’re being tested on the lower extremities (feet and legs) we recommend wearing loosefitting sweats or shorts. Also, please remove any jewelry or watches on your fingers, wrists, ankles, and toes prior to your appointment.

  5. If you have an implanted cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator you must inform our office as soon as possible as we may not be able to perform the test in our office.

  6. You will not be sedated for the test.

  7. Please let us know if you have a history of fainting or seizures.  We normally require that you bring someone with you in the room during the test, but due to COVID restrictions this may not be possible. Call our office as soon as possible if you have already scheduled your appointment.

  8. Please DO NOT bring children under the age of twelve, doing so will likely result in your appointment being rescheduled.

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First, the physician will take a brief medical history.  You will describe your symptoms, past illnesses, and medications you are currently taking. Be sure to tell the physician if you are on blood thinners (anticoagulants such as Coumadin), are highly susceptible to infections, bruise easily, have a pacemaker, defibrillator, a heart murmur or current heart issue, have a history of hepatitis or AIDS, fainting, seizures, or a latex allergy. A brief neurological examination may follow to check muscle strength, sensations and reflexes.

Nerve Conduction Velocity Test (NCV): Recording electrodes will be taped to your skin. A stimulating electrode is held against your skin, which sends a small electrical charge along the nerve. You may feel a tingle or your muscle may twitch. The recording electrodes will detect the electrical signals as they travel along the nerve. The interval between the stimulation and the response will be recorded to determine how quickly and efficiently signals travel along the nerve. Each test will take just a few minutes, but several nerves may have to be tested depending upon the disorder.

Needle Electromyography (EMG): A thin disposable needle electrode is inserted into a muscle to record electrical activity, at rest and during effort. The number of muscles examined may vary depending upon your particular condition. The total testing time may be close to 30 minutes. There is a slight risk of minor localized bleeding at the site of needle insertion. Transient soreness of the tested muscles may be experienced, which responds to over-the-counter pain relievers.


What to Expect