Electromyography, or EMG, involves the testing of the
electrical activity of muscles. A nerve conduction study,
or NCS, measures the conducting function of nerves. Many
times EMG testing is performed in conjunction with NCS
testing. Both tests will usually be performed at the same
office visit and by the same physician. Risks and procedures
will generally apply to each test.
The physiatrists of the Iowa Orthopaedic Center are physicians
trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They
perform special testing called electrodiagnosis, to assist
our orthopaedic surgeons and other physicians in the evaluation
of muscle and nerve concerns.
In some medical conditions, the electrical activity of
the muscles or nerves is not normal. An EMG and/or NCS
can detect these abnormal muscle and nerve properties
and provide specific detailed reporting as to how your
muscles and nerves are functioning. This information will
greatly aid in determining an accurate diagnosis and appropriate
Electrodiagnostic testing can assist with the diagnosis
of nerve compression or injuries such as carpal tunnel
syndrome, lumbar or cervical nerve root compression or
injury. EMG and NCS testing also aid in determining the
cause of weakness, numbness, pain and symptoms such as
fatigue, spasms and abnormal sensation, and many other
conditions or problems involving the muscles or nerves.Of normal size.
Conducted at normal speed.
During an EMG, the physician analyzes the electric activity
in muscles by inserting a fine needle electrode into selected
muscles. The needle insertion may cause mild temporary
discomfort during the test. The needle is not used for
injection and no shocks are given. The physician can then
determine if the muscle(s) are working normally by seeing
the electric activity on a computer screen and listening
to patterns over a loud speaker.
NERVE CONDUCTION STUDIES (NCS)
To perform nerve conduction studies, the physician tapes
small metal electrodes on the skin and applies a brief
electric stimulus to one portion of a nerve. This nerve
stimulation will cause a tingling sensation. The physician
can then evaluate the electric response of the nerve,
or muscle to which the nerve is attached, and determine
if the nerve impulse is:
There are no patient restrictions regarding activities before
or after either test is performed. The studies generally
take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to complete. There are
no permanent after affects.
Results of your study are read and forwarded to the physician
ordering the test(s).
Be sure to inform the physician if you are taking blood-thinning
medications such as Coumadin, hemophilia, or a cardiac
pacemaker. These require the physician to determine if
the testing procedure ordered is suitable at that time.
The IOC outpatient testing schedulers will be glad to
collect this information and to assist you in scheduling
the appropriate test at the right time.
Our focus is on providing quality electrodiagnostic testing
that is convenient for you and your family. That's why
IOC offers convenient hours each weekday for you to have
your testing completed.
Since an EMG and/or NCS is a diagnostic medical study,
a referral from a physician or appropriate health care
professional is normally required. If you have received
a referral from your physician or healthcare provider,
you can schedule your appointment in person or by phone.
Your physician's office or hospital emergency room staff
can also call our scheduling staff to schedule an EMG
or NCS for you. If you wish to make an appointment by
phone, you may call 515-247-8400, or 800-642-6381.
Please check with your insurance carrier before scheduling
an EMG or NCS. If your insurance plan requires a referral,
verify with our office that the referral has been received
prior to your scheduled study.
If you have any questions regarding an EMG or NCS, please
feel free to contact our office at 515-247-8400, or 800-642-6381.