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What is an EMG Laboratory Exam?

The electromyography (EMG) laboratory examination is a test of nerve and muscle function. Your child’s physician has arranged this examination to help diagnose your child’s condition.

The EMG laboratory exam includes nerve conduction studies and the EMG needle exam.

Nerve conduction studies are performed by placing disks on the skin over nerves and muscles and recording responses to electrical stimulation of the nerves. The nerves are stimulated with mild electrical impulses that are felt as slight shocks, much like the sensation experienced when you touch a door knob after walking across a wool rug in cold weather.

The EMG needle exam involves direct recording of muscle activity at rest and during movement, and is done by inserting a small needle into various muscles. A pinprick sensation is experienced when the needle is inserted and sometimes a mild, dull ache is noted while the needle is in place.

The EMG exam is safe, well-tolerated, and involves only minor discomfort. The exam takes an average of about one hour. However, it is not unusual for more time to be required.

Special Instructions

No special preparation is required. There are no aftereffects, and your child can return to his or her usual activity immediately upon leaving the laboratory. A parent or guardian must accompany every child getting an EMG laboratory exam. The parent of a young child may be requested to assist with the examination.

Test Results

The results of the EMG laboratory exam are sent to your physician, who will discuss the results with you. Often, the specific meaning of the test results for a particular child depends on putting the test results together with your child’s history and physical examination. Only your child’s doctor has all the information needed to put the whole picture together to diagnose and come up with a treatment plan for your child.

Last Update
April 3, 2014
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Last Update
April 3, 2014