The St. Luke’s Center for Neuroscience is dedicated to expert care of conditions of the nervous system.

Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies

Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG/NCS) are tests that measure muscle and nerve function in your arms or legs.

What should I do to get ready for the test?

You make take any medicines as you usually would. Your skin should be clean and free of excess oil. Do not use any lotions, oil or powders after you bathe.

How long does the test take?

If only one extremity is being done, it will take about 1 hour. If more than one extremity is being done, it will take about 1½ hours.

How is the test done?

The first part of the test is the Nerve Conduction Study which checks how well your nerves are carrying electrical signals. Metal disks (electrodes) are place on the hands or feet with gel and tape. A small electrical current is given to stimulate the nerve. This is done to see how quickly impulses travel between nerves. The feeling is similar to the static electricity you feel when you run your feet across a carpet then touch a piece of metal. It is more of a surprise than pain.

The second part of the test is Electromyography. A very small, thin needle is put into the muscle to be tested. You will be asked to move in certain ways. This test shows the electrical activity of the muscles, but no electrical currents are applied with the needle. The needle may feel like a pin prick.

What happens after the test?

There are no side effects. If you have minor soreness, you may apply a little ice or take a pain reliever like Tylenol, Motrin or Advil.

When will I get the results of the test?

Your doctor will tell you the results of the test. If you have not heard from your doctor within a week, you should call your doctor and ask about the results.

What if I have questions about the test?

Your questions are very important to us. If you have any questions about the test or how it is done, please call 484-526-4627.