EMG/NCS Testing: What to Expect During the Procedure

If your neurologist has recommended an Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) test, you might be curious about what to expect during the procedure. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of what happens during an EMG/NCS test, helping you feel prepared and informed.

  1. What is EMG/NCS Testing? EMG/NCS testing is a diagnostic procedure used to assess the health and functionality of your muscles and nerves. It consists of two main components: the nerve conduction study (NCS) and the electromyography (EMG). The NCS measures the speed and strength of electrical signals as they travel through your nerves, while the EMG evaluates the electrical activity of your muscles.
  2. Preparing for the Test: Your healthcare provider will provide specific instructions to prepare for the test, which may include avoiding lotions or creams on the day of the procedure and wearing loose and comfortable clothing. Make sure to inform your doctor if you have any bleeding disorders or are taking blood-thinning medications.
  3. Nerve Conduction Study (NCS): During the NCS, small metal electrodes will be placed on your skin at specific points along the nerve pathways being tested. A brief, mild electrical impulse will be delivered to stimulate the nerve, and the response will be recorded. You may feel a slight tingling or twitching sensation, but the procedure is generally well-tolerated.
  4. Electromyography (EMG): Following the NCS, the EMG component will assess the electrical activity of your muscles. A fine, sterile needle electrode will be inserted into specific muscles, and you will be asked to contract and relax those muscles. The electrical activity will be recorded and analyzed. While some discomfort or brief muscle twitches may occur during the insertion of the needle, it is generally not a painful procedure.
  5. Duration and Aftercare: The duration of an EMG/NCS test can vary depending on the complexity of the case, but it typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour. After the test, you can resume your normal activities, and any discomfort or mild bruising at the needle insertion sites usually resolves quickly.
  6. Discussing Results: Once the EMG/NCS test is complete, the results will be analyzed and interpreted by one of our CNS neurology specialists. The doctor who ordered the test will review the findings with you and discuss the implications for your diagnosis and treatment plan.


Remember, everyone’s experience with an EMG/NCS test may vary slightly, but the procedure is generally well-tolerated and provides valuable information for diagnosing and managing various nerve and muscle conditions.

EMG/NCS testing is a valuable tool in assessing nerve and muscle health, and understanding the process can help alleviate any anxieties you may have. Your doctor will guide you through the procedure and ensure your comfort and well-being throughout the testing process.

If you have any specific concerns or questions about the procedure, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your Community Neuroscience Services neurologist beforehand. They can address any doubts and provide personalized information based on your unique situation.



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