Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) are tests used to evaluate the health and overall function of the nerves and muscles found in the spine and limbs. When done in conjunction with one another, these two tests will produce results that will help a physician assess whether or not there are any medical abnormalities in the spinal cord, nerves, and muscles and if they are connected to certain nerves. Let’s now take a look at each individual test and its purpose:
- EMG – When this test is performed a technician will insert sterilized pins with a microscopic electrode on the tip into specific muscles along the patient’s back and/or limbs. This test is oftentimes ordered when an individual is experiencing numbness, weakness, fatigue, or some level of muscle cramping
- NCV – In contrast, the NCV test is performed by a technician placing a few electrodes on the limb or area of the back in question. Once the electrodes are in place the physician will apply a mild electric stimulus to the area. When done in conjunction with the EMG, this test will help assess whether an individual is suffering from a muscle disorder or if there is some other underlying cause of the symptoms
What is the Purpose of These Tests?
Both an EMG and a NCV test can detect abnormalities, diseases, and other conditions involving the muscles and nerves, such as a pinched nerve, damage to the nerves in the arms and legs, disc herniation, and even some degenerative diseases, such as muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. The patient should not experience any pain when the test is being performed, however, some do experience mild discomfort. The NCV test takes about 30 minutes from start to finis and the EMG test will last between 15 and 30 minutes.
How Do I Prepare for EMG/NCV Tests?
Here at Prime MRI we believe in doing everything we can to ensure our Dallas, Richardson, and Fort Worth EMG/NCV patients understand the procedures and why they are being done. With this, we will provide you with a few instructions in preparation of the tests. In most cases, the patient will be instructed to keep the area or areas that will be tested warn, dry, and free of any lotions. If possible, the skin should be warm. We ask this of our EMG/NCV patients because low body temperatures may slow nerve conduction and affect the test results.
What Are the Benefits of These Tests?
Both the EMG and NCV tests are important in evaluating and assessing the proper functionality of the body’s nervous system. When done together, these tests can provide your physician with invaluable information in regards to a patient’s muscles, nerves, and overall spine health. Furthermore, the results of these tests are known instantaneously, allowing the physician to have a better understanding of your condition and come up with a treatment plan right then and there.
To learn more about our Dallas/Fort Worth EMG/NCV services, please do not hesitate to contact Prime MRI today. Our knowledgeable, bilingual staff are happy to answer any questions you may have about these tests or anything else.