A electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic test that evaluates the condition of muscles and the motor neurons or nerve cells that control them. Ahmad Ata, M.D. is a board certified Neurologist and Neurophysiologist in Frisco, Texas who has over twenty years experience performing and interpreting EMG studies. Your physician or Dr. Ata may order an EMG if you have signs or symptoms that suggest you may have a muscle or nerve disorder.
An EMG is a minimally invasive diagnostic test that will help your physician determine a diagnosis for potential nerve or muscle disorders. This test in conjunction with a nerve conduction velocity study (NCV) will evaluate your muscle and the nerve cells or neurons that control them. These neurons transmit electrical signals from your nervous system to your muscles. These signals create muscle contractions that control your musculoskeletal activities such as walking. Damaged or diseased muscle fibers do not properly respond to nerve impulses. The use of electrodes placed on the skin and in the muscle will evaluate and transmit the strength and speed of the signals traveling between two or more points. This information is then portrayed in sound, graphs, or numerical figures that are then interpreted by a specialist like Dr. Ata. This test will indicate the overall health of your peripheral nervous system.
If you have symptoms that indicate a potential nerve or muscle disorder your physician may order an EMG to help diagnose your condition. Symptoms of muscle or nerve disorders are:
An EMG test is performed utilizing electrodes that will be placed at various locations on your skin. A tiny needle electrode may be inserted into the muscle at varying sites dependent upon your symptoms. When the study is being conducted the electrodes placed on your skin may omit a tiny electrical like current that will feel like a muscle spasm. When the tiny needle is inserted into the muscle you may experience pain or discomfort that will subside shortly after the need is removed. During the EMG Dr. Ata will assess your muscle and nerve activity through any abnormal electrical activity that occurs when the muscle is either resting or contracted.
Following the procedure you may experience some temporary pain or slight bruising where the needle was inserted.
Both the EMG and NCV tests are safe tests that pose a very little risk or side eﬀects. The most common side eﬀect is short term discomfort. Some patients may experience slight bruising around the area the needle was inserted but this should subside within in a couple of days.
There is not much preparation needed for an EMG. The main preparation we request is to bathe the day of your appointment to remove oils from the skin. Also, do not use moisturizing lotions or creams as they will interfere with the test.
No, there is no need to fast for an EMG. In most cases there is no need to stop taking your medications for an EMG however please bring a complete list of the medications you are taking. Please let Dr. Ata know if you are taking a blood thinner medication, have a pacemaker, seizures, or have a history of infections.
The test can vary in length depending on your symptoms and the muscles and nerves being evaluated. EMGs typically take forty-five minutes to an hour. Some EMGs that examine numerous muscles and nerves can last up to three hours.