Electrodiagnostics Animation

Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV), which is sometimes called a nerve conduction study (NCS), are electrodiagnostic tests your doctor may order or perform as part of your spinal examination. This video animation illustrates the differences between EMG and NCV and how these diagnostic tools measure muscle and nerve function.

Electrodiagnostic testing evaluates symptoms, such as muscle pain, weakness, and numbness that may be related to dysfunction of muscle and/or nerves. While the spinal cord is part of your central nervous system, the offshoot is the peripheral nervous system that enables sensation and function (movement) throughout your body.

The brain and your spinal cord make up the central nervous system. Within the spinal column is the spinal cord of which there are 31 pairs of spinal nerves.

Electromyography (EMG) tests muscle activity. An EMG test involves inserting a needle in a precise place through the skin area into the target muscle. An electromyograph records the muscle’s electrical activity when you contract and then relax the muscle. Normal electrical activity is detected during muscle contraction.

Nerve Conduction Velocity Testing (NCV) is usually performed during the same appointment with EMG. NCV evaluates nerve function. Before the NCV testing, electrode patches are affixed to skin near the nerve pathway to be evaluated. An electrical signal is dispensed along the nerve and sensor records the electrical activity, including how fast the impulse travels along the nerve pathway. The results are displayed on a computer monitor for evaluation.

Updated on: 05/22/18
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Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) Tests

Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests may be an important part of a spine patient’s work-up by their doctor.
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