Nerve Conduction Studies are electrical tests of nerve function. As nerves conduct by electricity, if an electrical pulse is supplied to a nerve, it is possible to record the response. The size of the response and the time it takes for the response to move along the nerve provides information about how the nerve is working.
The electrical pulses are an unusual sensation but last less than a millisecond. They may feel a little sharp or like a tapping sensation. If the test is assessing motor nerves, your fingers, foot or limb may twitch or jump with the electrical pulse.
Nerve conduction studies are safe and have no side effects. They can be performed in pregnant women and have no adverse effect on the baby.
In needle EMG studies, a thin, long needle (similar to an acupuncture needle) is inserted into your muscle. This test is used to determine if the problem in the muscle is due a to a nerve injury or due to disease of the muscle itself. Needle EMG can be used to predict recovery after nerve damage.
Because the needle goes through the skin, there is a risk of infection or bleeding from the needle but care is taken to clean the skin prior to needle insertion. If you are on blood thinners you may experience more bruising. The muscle(s) tested may feel a bit achy the next day.
Most nerve conduction studies and Needle EMG are completed in less than 30 minutes.
As nerve conduction is affected by temperature, it is helpful for your limbs to be warm for the test. If you have cold hands and feet, wear gloves and socks on the way to the test.
The test will be performed by A/Prof Jankelowitz.
On most occasions, you will be explained the findings at the time of the test. Occasionally extra calculations are required prior to a conclusion being obtained. Your doctor will be sent a report with the results of the test.