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What is an EMG/NCV?
An EMG is a recording of the electrical activity of the muscles, to see if there is any indication of damage to the nerve that supplies information to that muscle.
An NCV is a test performed to evaluate any damage or injury to the peripheral nerves.
What can I expect before the test?
There is no preparation required for these studies.
What can I expect during the test?
- A neurologist or physiatrist and a qualified technologist will be present during your test.
- You will be asked to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time so that you have time to register. You will be asked to report to the Heart and Lung Center at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.
- For the NCV:
- The technologist will apply electrodes to your skin. The technologist will use a probe to send a brief electrical impulse to the nerve in order to determine how quickly the nerve can carry this impulse.
- You will feel a brief electrical pulse, which may cause your muscle to twitch.
- The testing of each nerve will take only a few minutes.
- For the EMG:
- The physician will apply small metal discs (electrodes) to the skin, and then will insert a very slim Teflon coated needle electrode (pin) into the muscle. The pin will be in each muscle for approximately one minute.
- You will feel a mild prick as the pin is inserted. When the pin is in the muscle, it will probably feel like a cramp.
- The physician will ask you to relax and contract the muscle.
How long will the test take?
The length of the test will depend on how many nerves and muscles the physician needs to test. It usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
What can I expect after the test?
You may feel some slight tenderness in some of the muscles that have been tested. This should last no longer than 24 hours. Rubbing some ice over the affected area should help to alleviate any discomfort.
You may return to your normal schedule after the test.
The results will be forwarded to your physician, who will discuss them with you at a later date.