Electrodiagnostic Study in Manhattan
What is an electrodiagnostic study?
Electrodiagnostic testing measures the electrical activity or function of the muscles and nerves. Through measuring the electrical activity, the following things can be determined:
- The presence of nerve damage
- The causes of the nerve damage
- If the damaged nerves are responding to treatment
Why is electrodiagnostic testing performed?
Our doctors may recommend electrodiagnostic testing for various reasons that can result from pressure on a nerve. These are called compressive neuropathies and include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – pressure on the median nerve as it passes between the wrist bones and under the transverse ligament
- Cubital tunnel syndrome (ulnar nerve entrapment) – pressure on the ulnar nerve as it passes behind the elbow
- Thoracic outlet syndrome – pressure on the brachial plexus, a cluster of nerves that pass under the collarbone
- Cervical radiculopathy – pressure on the nerve roots as they leave the spinal column
Electrodiagnostic testing may also be done in order to determine the extent of injury to a nerve or to find the reason for pain, tingling or weakness that is unclear. In addition, it can be used to study the effects of diseases such as diabetes.
What are the common types of electrodiagnostic tests?
There are two common electrodiagnostic tests:
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Nerve Conduction Velocity Test (NCV)
What is electromyography?
An EMG records and analyzes the electrical activity in your muscles. It is used to find out more about the functioning of nerves in the arms and the legs and to determine if the muscles are receiving proper signal from nerves.
During an EMG, small needles are placed in the muscle, which records electrical activity. When a normal muscle is at rest, it is electrically silent. You will be asked to relax your muscle and then tense it tightly while the doctor listens and watches a monitor that broadcasts electrical signals. Sounds can be heard as the muscles are moved. Once the test is complete, the needles will be removed. After electromyography, you may experience slight soreness and bruising, however this will go away within a few days.
What is a nerve conduction velocity test (NCV)?
NCV tests are often performed along with EMG to determine if a nerve is functioning normally. They can also be used during treatment for an existing condition in order to test progress being made.
During a nerve conduction velocity test, electrodes are taped to the skin in various places along the nerve pathway. The nerves are then stimulated with an electric current. As the current travels down the nerve pathway, the electrodes capture the signal and time how fast the signal is traveling. In healthy nerves, electrical signals can travel at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour. If a nerve is damaged, the signal will be slower and weaker. Comparisons are made to averages to see if the nerves are working properly.
What do the different types of electrodiagnostic tests diagnose?
Commonly diagnosed conditions from electrodiagnostic testing include “pinched nerves”, peripheral nerve injuries and muscle diseases. An EMG may diagnose a herniated disc, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or myasthenia gravis (MG). It can also be used to identify the cause of weakness, paralysis, or muscle twitching. NCV tests are often used to help find nerve problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or Guillain-Barre syndrome.
When do I get the results of my electrodiagnostic testing?
Some of the results of your nerve studies may be given to you right after the tests. A full report may take 2 to 3 days. Depending on your results, your doctor will talk to you about any additional tests or treatments that may be necessary.
If you have any symptoms that may warrant electrodiagnostic testing, the first step is scheduling a consultation with our board-certified physiatrist at Park Avenue Medical Professionals. Our practice is known for our compassionate care and personalized approach. Schedule an appointment today by contacting our office at 212.427.2000. You can also make an appointment by filling out this form.