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What is EMG? Electrodiagnosis.

EMG Machine

Dr. Carradine is a specialist who treats disorders of the nerves, muscles, spinal joints and nearby bones and ligaments. When one of these areas malfunctions, she may have difficulty diagnosing the problem just on the basis of knowledge obtained by a medical history and physical examination. That is why she may order one or more neurological tests. These tests have long and difficult names, but they are generally painless and they will help her help you. These tests collectively are called neurodiagnostics.

Electromyogram (EMG)

  • confirm carpal tunnel syndrome
  • source of radiating arm or leg pain
  • diagnose pinched nerve or entrapment syndrome

When muscles or nerve fibers in the arms, legs or near the spine are damaged, the extent of the damage can be determined by a two-part test, the EMG, using a machine called the electromyogram. The first part of this test is called nerve conduction velocity (NCV) determination. In this procedure, the physician applies electrodes, which are small gel pads, to the muscle or nerve being examined. Then, using a stimulating probe, Dr. Carradine sends a tiny flow of electrical current into the nerve or muscle. This causes a measurable and predictable reaction, which is transmitted by the electrodes to the EMG machine. The machine measures and records this reaction and the amount of response time. This data is valuable in diagnosing neuromuscular problems. The tiny amount of current used in this test will not injure the nerve or muscle tissue and it may cause a slight uncomfortable feeling, similar to a mild “crazy bone” sensation.

The second part of the EMG test is called determination of muscle action. In this procedure, Dr. Carradine inserts into the muscle a small, Teflon-coated, needle-shaped electrode. The patient experiences a sensation like a mild pinch. Again, a tiny amount of current is detected in the muscle and the EMG measures and records the reaction. The EMG computer generates a photograph of the results. She then reads these results to diagnose an existing condition, or can store the results for future comparisons.

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