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Nerve Conduction Studies and Electromyography (EMG)
Norwich CT Nerve Conduction Studies at Neurology Associates, Eastern Connecticut's Neurologists
Nerve Conduction Studies (NSC) and electromyography (EMG) are utilized in the diagnosis of disorders affecting the peripheral nervous system, which includes all the nerves of the body excluding the brain and spinal cord, as well as muscle.
NCS are performed by using a small electrical stimulation over a nerve and measuring characteristics of that nerve such as how fast it transmits a signal, how robust the signal is and whether the signal remains uniform as it travels down the nerve. All of these characteristics help your doctor in diagnosing diseases that affect the nervous system.
EMG is part of the same exam but not necessarily utilized in every case. In this study, a very thin needle electrode is placed in specific muscles and the signals the muscle makes at rest and when contracting are observed. This helps the doctor diagnose disease of the muscle, nerve and also the nerve root in cases, for example, where a bulging disc is pinching a nerve in the spine.
At Neurology Associates, NCS and EMG are performed by two physicians, Dr. Tauro and Dr. Tinklepaugh, both of whom had fellowship training in utilizing this technology to diagnose neuromuscular disorders.
What can I expect during the test?
This is a frequent question, and often our patients don’t know what to expect. The NCS involve small adhesive tabs placed on your skin over the nerve in question which pick up the signal when the nerve is stimulated. A small electrode is placed at various positions on the skin over the same nerve and a small, brief electrical stimulus is given. At times this will be repeated until the technologist gets the signal they are looking for.
The EMG is performed by the doctor. The small needle electrode is placed just beneath the skin in the muscle being tested. No stimulus is given as this test passively listens to the muscle electrical activity. This activity is assessed at rest and with contraction. Occasionally, this test can be uncomfortable as muscle can cramp or spasm from the needle. Usually though this test is tolerated well.
You should always let the technologist and doctor know if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator, or if you are on blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, Plavix, Aggrenox or other related drugs.