• SA Group of Specialists
  • 21 March 2023

Nerve conduction studies and electromyography now available

Nerve conduction studies and electromyography are used to evaluate the function of nerves and muscles. Performed by a neurologist, they can assist in diagnosing such conditions as carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy and other peripheral nerve conditions.

Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS)

Nerve conduction studies are used to evaluate the function of nerves in the body. They can be used to measure the speed and strength of nerve impulses and can help identify nerve damage or dysfunction.

Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography is used to evaluate the function of muscles and the nerves that control them. They are often used to diagnose conditions such as muscle weakness, muscle spasms, and muscle fatigue. The test can also be used to identify nerve damage or dysfunction that may be affecting muscle function.

How are the tests performed?

Nerve conduction studies and electromyography are often performed together to provide a comprehensive evaluation of nerve and muscle function. By combining the two, physicians can better evaluate the interaction between nerves and muscles, and identify the source of any problems.

During nerve conduction study, small electrodes are placed on the skin over the nerves being tested. A small electrical current is then sent through the electrodes, which stimulates the nerve and causes it to produce a response. This measures the speed and strength of the electrical signals traveling along the nerve.

For an electromyography test, a fine needle electrode is inserted into the muscle being tested. The electrode records the electrical activity of the muscle both at rest and during contraction. This measures the health and function of the muscle and the nerve fibres controlling it.

How do I prepare for the test?

The tests are completed in the clinic, like a normal doctor’s appointment, and should take less than an hour. To make the experience as easy as possible, and get the most accurate results, you should also:

  • Wear comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the areas being tested, such as loose shorts or a short-sleeved shirt. You should also avoid wearing jewellery, or take it off for the test.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine for at least two hours before the test, as they can affect your nervous system.
  • Avoid using lotions or oils to your skin on the day of the test, as this can interfere with the electrical signals the test measures.
  • Keep your hands and feet warm.
  • Follow any specific instructions your doctor gives you, such as fasting or stopping certain medications.

While the test shouldn’t be painful, it can be uncomfortable. Your doctor may recommend taking a pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen before the test to help manage any discomfort.

After the study, the neurologist will analyse the results. A copy of your report will be sent to the referring doctor, and they will also explain your results in a follow up appointment.

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