What is Elecrtrodiagnostic Medicine?
Electrodiagnostic (EDX) Medicine is the study of nerve and muscle diseases. To determine whether your nerves and muscles are working properly, your doctor may recommend that you have EDX testing, which may include a nerve conduction study (NCS) and a needle electromyography (EMG) test. The results of the tests help your doctor diagnose your condition and determine the best course of treatment.
Why was Electrodiagnostic Medicine Reccomended to Me?
Recommended for those experiencing numbness, tingling pain, weakness, or muscle cramping. The doctor will use one or more EDX tests to determine if your muscles or nerves are damaged and, if so, how to treat you.
What to Expect During Nerve Conduction Study and EMG Test
How should I prepare for the test?
Tell the doctor preforming the tests if you: take aspirin or blood thinners (like Coumadin), have a pacemaker, or have hemophilia. On the day of the test, take a bath or shower to remove oil from your skin and do not use body lotion. If you have existing conditions, ask your doctor if you shouldtake any medications before the test.
How long does the test take?
Each study is designed especially for you based on your symptoms. The length of the test is different for every patient. The tests usually take 30 to 60 minutes. You may perform normal activities like eating, driving, and exercising before and after the tests. There are no lasting side effects.
What will happen during the test?
During the NCS, the doctor applies small stimulations to your nerve(s) to study how the nerve(s) works. These stimulations cause a quick, mild, tingling feeling. The doctor or technologist will test several nerves during your study.
Needle EMG Testing
During the EMG test, the doctor inserts a small, thin needle into several muscles. The doctor is able to hear and see how your muscles and nerves are working by the way electrical signals travel from the needle to the EMG machine. The doctor then uses his or her specialized medical knowledge to determine the cause of your symptoms. The only muscles tested are those needed to decide what is wrong. A new needle is used for each patient and is thrown away after the test. There may be a small amount of pain during the study.
How will I get the results?
After the tests are complete, the doctor will discuss your test results with you or send them to your referring doctor. After the examination, you can check with your doctor for the next step in your care.
Meet the Expert: Doctor Bio Video Series
Summit Orthopedics electrodiagnostic medicine specialist David Rippe, M.D., tells you what to expect when you have an appointment for an EMG.
David Rippe, M.D., is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in electrodiagnostic medicine.