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EMG, or electromyogram, is a diagnostic procedure used by our neurologists at The Neurology Center at Mercy to help diagnose symptoms that may suggest a nerve or muscle disorder.
An EMG or Electromyogram is a diagnostic procedure used to evaluate the electrical activity of muscles and the nerve cells that power them when relaxed and moving. Nerves cells or motor neurons send electrical signals that make the muscles relax and contract. The EMG test converts the electrical signals into graphs, sounds or numbers that are translated by an EMG trained specialist.
Using EMG, neurologists can determine if symptoms like tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, muscle pain or limb pain is associated with neuromuscular disorders like:
An EMG can be performed by inserting a needle electrode into a muscle to record the electrical activity in the targeted muscle. The EMG is often performed along with a nerve conduction study.
An EMG can be performed in several settings including a doctor’s office, clinic or in a hospital. Your muscles will need to relax during the EMG. You will sit in a reclining chair, or lie down on a bed or table. The following will take place:
The electrode activity is recorded with the muscle at rest and contracted. If a reading is needed for different areas of the muscle, the electrode may be moved several times. An EMG procedure typically takes 30 to 60 minutes.
The neurologist or the nerve specialist doctor will need to know your medical conditions such as:
Depending on your symptoms, the neurologists will place surface electrodes or needle electrodes on your skin where you are having symptoms. You may experience a spasm from the electrical current. If a needle electrode is used, there may be some discomfort until the needle is removed.
The EEG test takes 30 to 60 minutes and is done as an outpatient procedure. If you received a sedative, it may take up to an hour to recover. You will need someone to take you home and you should not drive for the remainder of the day.
Experienced neurologists of The Neurology Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, utilize advanced diagnostic tools, such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and electromyogram (EMG), for the diagnosis and management of neurological disorders and neuromuscular conditions, including peripheral neuropathy, entrapment neuropathy, epilepsy, headaches, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.
Dr. James Bernheimer is an expert neurologist with The Neurology Center at Mercy, where he offers comprehensive consultation, evaluation and treatment for neurological disorders.