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EMG / NCV / NCS – Electromyograms

What are nerve studies and why are they performed?

Nerve studies are diagnostic exams of nerve activity used to identify and assess the extent of nerve damage and to guide therapy and treatment. They’re also used to manage treatment of specific nerve or neuromuscular diseases. Nerve studies help diagnose disorders like multiple sclerosis or myasthenia gravis.

What is an EMG?

Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic procedure used to assess the health of the muscles and the nerve cells that control them (motor neurons). EMG results can reveal nerve dysfunction, muscle dysfunction or problems with nerve-to-muscle signal transmission. An EMG uses tiny devices called electrodes to translate these signals into graphs, sounds or numerical values that are then interpreted by a specialist. During a needle EMG, a needle electrode is inserted directly into a muscle that records the electrical activity within that muscle.

What is an NCV?

NCV stands for nerve conduction velocity. It is a test that is used to assess how well specific nerves are transmitting electrical impulses or nerve signals that help control muscle movement and other functions. NCVs typically are performed to help diagnose nerve damage and the extent of that damage. They can also be used to evaluate certain diseases of the nerves or the muscles. During this test, electrical impulses are transmitted to the nerves via special electrodes, and the “reaction times” are then measured and monitored to determine how they are transmitting along the nerve pathway.

What is an NCS?

A nerve conduction study is usually done along with electromyography (EMG). The nerve conduction study stimulates specific nerves and records their ability to send the impulse to the muscle. The study can show where there is a blockage of the nerve pathway. Nerve conduction studies are done to: Find and evaluate damage to all the nerves that lead away from the brain and spinal cord to the smaller nerves that branch out from them. It helps to diagnose variety of nerve disorders.

How should I prepare for an EMG?

Please do not put any lotions or oils on your skin. Please wear comfortable clothing that do not obstruct the area that your doctor will be evaluating.

What is an EEG?

EEG stands for electroencephalogram; it is a test used to evaluate and measure the electrical activity in the brain. These electrodes pick up tiny electrical impulses in the brain and transmit them to a computer that creates a graph depicting the activity.

EEGs are used to diagnose an array of issues related to the brain, including:

  • Epilepsy / Seizure disorders
  • Encephalopathy (brain dysfunction)
  • Brain Dysfunction
  • Brain injury

How is an EEG performed?

EEGs are noninvasive and painless. In our office we have electrodes attached to a close-fitting headset, and they are connected to a computer system that allows us to watch the EEG live, and keep it recorded as well. EEGs may be conducted while the patient is awake or during sleep. We also work closely with other companies that do at-home monitoring and longer length studies. During the test, patients may be asked to open and close their eyes, read or perform other simple activities to measure the brain’s activity. EEGs performed on patients who are awake typically take about thirty minutes to an hour.

How should I prepare for an EEG?

Please do not use any hair products that may harden your hair (i.e. hairspray, hair gel, etc.) on the day of your appointment. You may shower the night prior. We ask that you do not wear facial makeup specifically on your forehead on the day of your appointment.

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