Spine & Sports Surgery Center
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What is an EMG/NCS and why is it helpful?

EMG stands for Electromyograghy and NCS stands for Nerve Conduction Study. These two studies are done together; but on occasions, the EMG portion is skipped depending on the diagnosis and the result of the NCS portion. These two tests examine the integrity and function of your nerves to make sure there is no injury to the nerves from a compression in the arms or legs (carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel, pronator teres syndrome, tarsal tunnel, nerve laceration). These tests are also very useful to determine whether you may have a nerve injury from nerve compression in your neck or back from a slipped disc or from bony overgrowth.

How does the scheduling process work?

The office will call your insurance carrier to obtain authorization for the test. This process may take from a few days to a month depending on your insurance. You may call this office in two weeks to check on the authorization status. You may also call the insurance directly to make inquiry. Once authorization is given, we will call you to come to the office to have the test performed. Please make sure to keep your appointment and be on time as the next available appointment may be in a few weeks.

What happens during the procedure?

The test is performed in the sitting or lying position. Your leg or arm will be attached with electrodes to a portable machine. For the NCS portion, small electrical stimulation similar to the TENS unit will be discharged to measure the nerve function. For the EMG portion, a small, Teflon coated, sterile needle will be inserted in the muscles. This will feel very much like acupuncture. The EMG portion is not always performed. The procedure takes between 15-30 minutes. Pain is quite minimal and it is much less than a blood drawn. Most patients describe the pain as a discomfort.

What happens after the procedure?

Local discomfort may last a few minutes to about half an hour. You may return to work on the same day.

Risks and complications

There are no known risks with the EMG/NCS. Local discomfort is very brief and transient.

General Pre/Post instructions

Please do not apply any lotion, perfume, or cream to your skins prior to the procedure. There are no precautions after the procedure.

If you still have questions

Please call the clinic where you were seen and make an appointment with Dr. Tran so that your questions can be answered. It would be best that your questions are answered in person rather than over the phone. You may also visit our sister site www.spinalmedicine.com for additional information and links to other useful sites.