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Electrodiagnostic Testing Patient Information Guide


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Electrodiagnostic testing helps to identify or characterize peripheral nervous system conditions following an injury or disease affecting your nerves and muscle functions. The first portion of the test is called a nerve conduction study (NCS). It is performed by attaching a small device (an electrode) on the skin. The nerve is then stimulated with a very small electrical pulse. If the nerve is attached to a muscle, the muscle will clench (contract) in response to the electrical signal. The electrical pulses are very brief and feel like a sharp tapping (funny) sensation on the skin.

Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) is often, but not always done together with needle electromyography (EMG). This second part of the test includes muscle examination with a small needle. This EMG portion involves direct recording of muscle activity at rest and during activity. This is very important step of the test, when needed.

Prepare for your Electrodiagnostic appointment:

  1. Tell the doctor if you are taking aspirin, blood thinners (like Coumadin), have a pacemaker, or a bleeding disorder.
  2. Take a bath or shower beforehand to remove oil from your skin. Avoid using lotions, oils or creams on the day of your test. The test will be performed more smoothly and quickly when the skin is clean and dry.
  3. You do not have to fast; you may eat and drink as normal.
  4. If the EMG will be on your arm(s), then please wear or bring a short sleeve top. If the EMG will be on your leg(s), then please wear or bring shorts.
  5. Continue using all your regular medications as prescribed by your physicians.

There are usually no after effects or complications of the test. Most people tolerate the test very well and may return to their normal daily activities. Our staff will go over the procedure of your test. The test usually takes between 30-60 minutes. Most test results are available within one to two days of testing. If you have any questions or inquiries or need to change your appointment, please contact us at 305-243-6605.

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