Determining the exact location of a nerve or muscle injury can be challenging. However, with electromyography (EMG), your neurologist will easily determine neuromuscular abnormalities before gauging their reversibility. During your New Jersey EMG test, your doctor will use either surface or needle electrodes to measure your muscles to check for potential nerve or muscle conditions.
Why would your doctor request an EMG test?
Your doctor will most likely request the test if you have symptoms indicating nerve or muscle disorders like:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps
From your results, the medical expert will rule out or diagnose the following:
- Conditions like a herniated disc affecting your nerve roots
- Disorders affecting nerves outside your spinal cord like peripheral neuropathy
- Diseases affecting your motor neurons in your brain or spinal cord
- Muscle disorders like muscular dystrophy
- Infections like myasthenia gravis that impact the connection between your nerves and muscles
What should you know about the test?
The EMG test is safe, however, you need to talk to your healthcare provider if you take blood thinners, have an implanted defibrillator, pacemaker, or any electrical device before the examination. While some medications are safe, you may need to discontinue some such as Mestinon, before taking the test. You might not need any preparations if you have a replacement joint prosthesis. If possible, your doctor will ask you to shower or take a bath to free your skin of oils. He may also advise you not to use creams or lotions before the test.
What you should expect:
- Before the process
Your doctor will require you to change into a hospital gown before asking you to lie on an examination table. The neurologist will then place surface electrodes on different locations, specifically in areas having symptoms. In other instances, the medical expert will insert needle electrodes on your treatment areas instead of surface electrodes.
- During the examination
You are likely to feel a spasm in the course of the study when your surface electrodes transmit tiny electrical currents. On the other hand, the needle electrodes might cause discomfort. However, the pain will subside shortly after your doctor removes the needle. During the needle EMG test, the medical professional will check whether you have any spontaneous electrical activity when your muscle is at rest, as well as your activity levels when you contract your muscle.
- After the procedure
You should expect minor bruises that will last a few days on the areas where the neurologist inserted the needle electrodes inside your skin. However, you may notify the medical expert when bruising and pain persists longer than 11 days.
Does an EMG test have risks?
Since EMG is a low-risk examination, post-op complications are not expected. However, you might have a low risk of nerve injury, bleeding, or infection on the treatment sites where your neurologist inserted the needle electrodes. You will also have a small rare risk of air leaking into the site between your chest wall and lungs when the doctor assesses areas along your chest wall with needle electrodes.
EMG tests are safe and will not need any preparations. Consult your neurologist to know whether the medications you are taking are safe, or if you should discontinue them before the examination.