Electromyography (EMG)

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Electromyography (EMG). Nerve and muscle health

Neurography and Electromyography (EMG) – examinations and consultations

Electromyography or EMG is a diagnostic procedure for the evaluation of nerve and muscle health. During the examination, needle electrodes are inserted directly into the muscle and the electrical activity of the muscle is recorded. The results of the examination may serve to discover nerve and/or muscle function disorders or synaptic problems (synapse is the site of signal transmission between the muscle and the nerve). EMG transforms these signals into charts, sounds and numeric values, which are afterwards analysed by the physician.

Duration of the examination

Approximately 20-50 minutes. You may also apply for a consultation at once.

Preparation

It is important to inform the physician of your health status in detail. This procedure requires preparation.

Sensations

The examination may feel slightly unpleasant or painful.

Limitations

The physician must be informed of your health status prior to the examination.

Advantages of the method

The only method that enables assessment of the functional condition of the peripheral nerves (transmission of the impulse), the method provides additional information in the event of muscle diseases.

Results

The physician provides an opinion immediately after the examination.

Diagnostic principles

Electromyography (EMG) is performed by a neurologist, who will place the superficial electrodes in different places on your skin, depending on the location of your symptoms. The neurologist may also insert needle electrodes in different places of your muscles based on clinical symptoms. The stimulation electrodes will perform the stimulation of the nerve with minimum electric irritation, which will be subjectively appropriate. The insertion of needle electrodes may cause short-term minor discomfort or pain, which lasts until the moment when the needle is removed. If you are concerned about the discomfort or pain, you may ask the neurologist to interrupt the examination for a short moment of time. During the EMG examination, the neurologist may ask you to perform the contraction of the examined muscle to assess the electrical activity of the muscle.

Prior to the examination

  • It is recommended to take a shower prior to the examination, while avoiding the use of skin lotion or cream.
  • Your physician will explain the nature of the examination and its procedure to you and allow you to ask the questions that you are interested in, if such questions arise. You will be asked to sign a consent form for the performance of the examination. Read the consent form carefully and ask any questions, if something is unclear to you.
  • Inform the physician of the medicinal products that you are taking and find out whether you need to discontinue the use of some of your medications prior to the examination.

Precautions

Prior to the examination, inform the neurologist of whether you have any of the symptoms mentioned below or other potential health-related risks:

  • Whether you have a pacemaker or any other electrical medical device.
  • Whether you are using medicinal blood thinning products (anticoagulants).
  • Whether you are a haemophiliac or you have blood clotting disorders that cause long-term bleeding.
  • Whether you have extensive skin infections, since the risk of the spread of infection from skin to muscle exists.
  • Whether you have other infectious diseases.
  • Whether you have other health disorders.

Potential adverse side effects

Neurography and electromyography (EMG) are low-risk examinations and adverse effects are very uncommon. There is a minor risk of bleeding, infection and nerve damage. Disposable needle electrodes are used to reduce the probability of side effects.

When the performance of electromyography examination is advisable

The performance of the examination is essential in the cases where the person has symptoms that may point to disorders in neural and/or muscle function:

  • yingling;
  • numbness;
  • muscle weakness;
  • muscle pain or cramps;
  • extremity pain.

What diseases can be diagnosed or excluded during neurography or electromyography examinations

  • Muscle function disorders: muscular dystrophy, myopathy or myositis.
  • Diseases that cause transmission disorders in the synapse between muscle and nerve – myasthenia.
  • Disorders in the nerves outside the vertebral column (peripheral nerves): carpal tunnel syndrome or peripheral neuropathies.
  • Impairments that affect motor neurons in the brain or spinal cord: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or poliomyelitis.
  • Disorders that affect nerve roots: protrusions/herniation of intervertebral discs and spondylosis.

Specialists

Dr. Solvita Bērziņa

Dr. Solvita Bērziņa

neurologist, electromyography methods specialist
Dr. Ieva Puriņa

Dr. Ieva Puriņa

neirologs, elektromigrāfijas metodes speciālists