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Electromyography (EMG) (cont.)


EMG Preparation

No specific preparation is needed for the testing.

During the EMG Procedure

During EMG, small pins or needles are inserted into muscles to measure electrical activity. The needles are different than needles used for injection of medications. They are small and solid, not hollow like hypodermic needles. Because no medication is injected, discomfort is much less than with shots.

  • The patient will be asked to contract his or her muscles by moving a small amount during the testing.
  • With nerve conduction studies, small electrodes will be taped to the skin or placed around the fingers. The patient typically will experience a mild and brief tingling or shock, which may be a bit unpleasant.
  • The person who administers the test will explain the procedure. Often muscle activity is monitored through a speaker during the test, which may make a popping or soft roaring noise. The EMG technician will be looking at an oscilloscope, which looks like a small TV set during the procedure.
  • Testing may take 30 to 60 minutes.

After the EMG Procedure

If the patient is having this test in a doctor's office, he or she will be sent home following the procedure without any restriction of activities. Some people may have minor aches and pains from the testing.

The report of the testing will be sent to the doctor who ordered the test. The ordering doctor will discuss the results with the patient or the doctor.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine


"What to Expect During Your EMG Test." American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/5/2016

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