EMG Information


If you have any questions or need to change your appointment please call the EMG Lab at 434-924-2511.

What is an EMG?

An EMG or electromyogram is an electrical test of peripheral nerves and muscles.  Most EMG studies include nerve conduction studies and the EMG test.  In many cases this test looks for evidence of nerve damage, diseases of the nerve and/or muscle or disorders of the neuromuscular junction (where the nerve and muscle connect). 

Getting Ready

No special dietary restrictions are necessary for this test.  You can take your medications as usual (except perhaps for Mestinon – call the EMG Lab for special instructions in this case). 

The test usually takes about 90 minutes; you may be here longer depending on the complexity of the study.    

How is this procedure performed? 

Procedures may vary but, in general, this is what to expect:

  • Please arrive at the Primary Care Center about 15 minutes before your appointment and register on the 1st floor. 
  • After registering, please go to the EMG Lab on the Ground Floor (one floor below) and check in at the front desk.
  • You will be escorted to an EMG exam room and asked to change into a gown.  A doctor (neurologist) will speak to you before the test and possibly do a quick physical exam.
  • In most cases you will be warmed (by putting hands/feet in warm water).  This makes the test more accurate.
  • An EMG technician will perform nerve conduction studies by taping electrodes on the surface of your skin – usually on your hands or feet.  He/she will then stimulate the nerve with a small electrical impulse (a small “shock” that will often make your muscles twitch).
  • The neurologist will then perform the EMG test by examining muscles with a small needle electrode.  You will feel the electrode inserted through the skin. There will be no shocks during this needle study, but the small needle likely will cause some localized pain. The number of muscles the doctor looks at depends on what he/she sees while examining each muscle and what questions your referring doctor is asking to be answered.
  • The data collected during the study will be analyzed and interpreted. The test results will be sent to the physician who referred you for the EMG and your primary care physician. Please discuss the test results with your referring physician who should receive the report within 3 business days. In addition to test results being sent to your doctor within 2-3 days, the results will also be released into My Chart results after 14 days.

After the EMG it is possible that you might feel tenderness or soreness in tested muscles.  To relieve discomfort you could consider applying an ice pack and consider taking an over-the-counter analgesic. Any soreness should resolve quickly. If tested muscles continue to be bothersome you can call the EMG Lab for further advice.

For additional information visit: http://www.aanem.org/Patients