You have been referred to Bicknell EMG because you have experienced numbness, tingling, pain, weakness and/ or muscle cramping. If your provider suspects that you may have a problem with your nerves or muscles, this procedure will likely be an important part of your evaluation.
Precautions: Notify physicians & staff if you are taking any blood thinners. Patients that have routine PT/INR testing, please provide most recent result.
This procedure takes about 30 minutes.
Please bring your insurance cards and a valid form of identification. Also, take a bath or shower to remove oil from your skin. Do not use body lotion or powder the day of your test to improve the quality of the test results. Also, to save time, you may download and complete our patient information forms to bring with you.
Nerve conduction studies show how well an electrical signal travels across a nerve. Special equipment records how the nerve works. Dr. Bicknell will test several nerves.
In this part of the exam, Dr.Bicknell evaluates the electrical signals that travel from the muscle to the EMG monitor. A small electrode will be placed just under the skin in several different muscles. With new technology and special techniques this can be done with minimal discomfort.
Dr. Bicknell will need to study the test results after you leave the office so he has ample time to review them. Therefore, he may not be able to discuss your results immediately. Typically formal reports are faxed to your referring physician within 24 hours. We will provide your physician with an accurate diagnosis so that you can enjoy a speedy recovery.
There are many reasons why your own doctor may have referred you for an EMG/NCS and it is not possible to list all of them here. It is perfectly reasonable for you to ask the doctor sending you for the tests for the reason. Common reasons include entrapped nerves or other nerve and muscle problems. Dr. Bicknell specializes in performing EMG/NCS.
For this part of the test, a small, thin needle is put in several muscles to see if there are any problems. It is used once for each patient and is thrown away after the test. There may be a small amount of pain during this part of the examination. The doctor tests only the muscles necessary to decide what is wrong. During the EMG test the doctor will be able to hear and see how your muscles and nerves are working by the electrical signals made by your muscles. The doctor then uses his medical knowledge to figure out what could be causing your problem.
Nerve conduction studeies show how well the body's electrical signals are traveling to a nerve. This is done by applying small electrical shocks to the nerve and recording how the nerve works. These shocks cause a quick, mild, tingling feeling. The doctor may test several nerves.
The electrical nerve tests or nerve conduction studies feel like small electrical shocks. Most people will find these a bit uncomfortable but will be able to tolerate it without difficulty. Many people who have used a TENS machine say the feeling is very similar. The needle tests are also a bit uncomfortable but usually quite tolerable as the needles used are very thin, similar to acupuncture needles. If there is anything that you feel is too uncomfortable let the doctor know. Tests will be done in a different way or even stopped if you find them too uncomfortable. Dr.Bicknell will try to minimize your discomfort at all times but needs to do enough to try to come to a diagnosis.
The equipment used is extensively tested and is safe. Some precautions need to be taken with certain patients who have heart pacemakers or are on blood thinning drugs such as warfarin. Inform us if this affects you or it there is anything else about your medical history you think we should know about. There are no serious side effects from an EMG. The electrical tests can sometimes make hands or feet tingle for a few minutes after but will soon pass. The needle tests may result in slight bleeding as in a pinprick. Your muscles may also ache for a few hours after the needle tests but this is usually very minor.
You can help by wearing clothing that is loose and easily removed. Short sleeved clothes can make tests a bit easier to do. If possible do not wear jewelry that would be difficult to remove. Avoid wearing any skin moisturizers as they make it difficult to get good recordings.
A report will be sent to the physician who referred you for the EMG/NCS. This physician will then pass on the information to you and your PCP. It is not always possible to give you the results on the day of your test. Sometimes it is better for the doctor in charge of your overall care to look at all the different test results he or she has ordered before discussing specific conditions. In some cases Dr.Bicknell will need more time to review the results before coming to a conclusion.