Electromyography (EMG), with its more commonly used and known name, is an electrophysiological method applied by neurologists in which the functioning of nerves and muscles in our body is examined. It can be applied in all age groups, there is no harm in applying during pregnancy. EMG; is frequently used in the diagnosis and follow-up of diseases such as lumbar and neck hernia, muscle diseases, motor neuron disease, neuropathies called nerve ending inflammation (especially due to diabetes), nerve compression.
In practice, EMG consists of two parts: nerve conduction study and needle EMG. However, according to your present complaints or disease, only a nerve conduction study may be done without an evaluation with a needle.
Nerve conduction study; is done by giving a mild electrical stimulation to the relevant nerve with electrodes placed on the skin and muscles in certain areas. The electrical stimulation given is of no harm to the patient, but the patient may feel temporary pain as the intensity of the stimulation is increased during the stimulation of the nerves in the deep parts of the body. In patients with a pacemaker, this test is not performed because it may cause arrhythmia in the heart. With this method, it can be easily understood whether there is a problem that will disrupt the anatomical integrity and functions of the nerves responsible for strength and sensations.
Needle EMG; is the examination performed with specially designed, disposable, very thin needles resembling a wire. The electrical activity in a muscle is recorded by inserting a needle electrode into that muscle, and no electrical stimulation is given during the procedure. During the examination, you are asked to do some movements to activate the muscle depending on the relevant muscle. Although mild pain is felt during the procedure, it is well tolerated by most patients. With this examination, it is possible to have an idea about whether there is an error in the transmission from the motor neurons to the muscle, if there is, the temporal process of the damage, and whether the recovery has begun. Patients using blood thinners (coumadin, aspirin, etc.) should inform the doctor who will perform the examination beforehand. Needle EMG is not preferred in people with high blood thinning.
Before the examination, the patient is informed about the procedure and recommended to have a clean body (take a bath), not to use cosmetic products such as creams and make-up, and to come with warm hands and feet and a full stomach.
What is EMG?
The nervous and muscular systems in the human body are very important for the person to perform their vital functions and daily activities without any problems. EMG stands for electromyography, which is important for detecting a problem in the muscle or nervous system.
EMG is known as an important diagnostic method for examining the nervous and muscle systems in detail, detecting whether any damage has occurred, and diagnosing whether there is a muscle disease. The information of how normal the sensory nerves of the person work together with the muscles is also diagnosed by the EMG method.
EMG method can be used in many diseases from numbness complaints to hernia, from loss of strength in arms and legs to muscle pain.
Why Is An EMG Taken?
EMG recordings, which help to visualize the nervous and muscular system in the body and thus diagnose the disease, are requested by the doctor for the diagnosis of certain diseases.
- Spinal cord diseases
- Muscle and nerve diseases
- Diseases that affect a person’s metabolism, such as diabetes, kidney disease
- Chronic diseases that affect nerve functions
- Brain or neck hernia
- Patients with complaints of numbness in the arms and legs
- Nerve compression. EMG testing is considered necessary in such cases.
EMG method is applied to determine the cause of the loss of the function of the peripheral nerves that provide the mobility and reactivity of people in their daily lives or the occurrence of dysfunctions in these nerve-muscle tissues.
How Is An EMG Taken?
In general terms, the diagnostic EMG method preferred for diseases related to nerve and muscle functions is recorded in two stages.
The first stage is performed by examining the nerve transmissions and reflexes after the electrodes are attached to the area where the person has complaints about nerve and muscle sensation. In this application, the responses and movements in the muscle-nerve tissue are recorded by giving a tiny electrical current to the person through the electrodes. Thanks to these electrical waves given at a very low level, the condition of the fibers that provide the movements of the motor neurons is evaluated.
In the EMG method performed in the second stage, disposable needle electrodes are used. The nerve conduction measurement is performed in the first stage, while the muscles are examined by the needle electrodes used in the second stage. At this stage, the needle is inserted only into the muscle tissue of the person, no electricity or medication is given.
In Which Diseases Is EMG Used For Diagnosis?
- In spinal cord diseases related to muscle wasting such as ALS, Polio
- Nerve injuries such as traffic accidents, nerve cuts
- In diseases called nerve entrapment such as Carpal tunnel syndrome etc.
- In waist and neck hernia
- In diseases that adversely affect nerve functions such as diabetes, kidney disease
- Muscle and nerve diseases. EMG test method is used in the diagnosis of such cases.
How Long Does the EMG Take?
The EMG test, which is based on the principle of diagnosing the disease by evaluating the muscle and nerve sensations in the body, varies from patient to patient.
Generally speaking, the duration of the EMG test is about half an hour. However, depending on situations such as the doctor’s order for a more detailed examination, or the patient’s difficulty in complying with the test, the half-hour EMG test can sometimes take up to an hour.
Why Is The EMG Test Performed?
EMG measures and records the function of peripheral nerves in the body. In this context, sensory nerves and motor nerves are examined separately. EMG is a necessary procedure in cases such as nerve compression, neck and lumbar hernia, muscle diseases, and spinal cord problems. EMG is also required in diabetes and kidney diseases. EMG duration varies according to certain factors. The general duration is 1 hour on average.
Is EMG Test Painful?
EMG is a test that records the function of nerves and muscles. Therefore, it is applied with electrodes adhering to the body. Since it controls the function of the nerves, electricity is given to the body in small vibrations. As a result, it causes tremors in the body, though not on a large scale. This side effect passes in a short time and no pain is felt.
Which Diseases Can Be Diagnosed With EMG Result?
Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic method used to observe and record the electrical activity of peripheral and muscle nerves. With this method, diseases such as muscle diseases, peripheral nerve diseases, and mononeuropathy are diagnosed. At the same time, myasthenia gravis, postpolio syndrome, radicular nerve lesions are also diagnosed. In addition, it is possible to diagnose heart rhythm disorders and blood pressure changes under autonomic system diseases.
From Which Department Is An EMG Test Appointment Made?
An appointment is requested from the neurophysiology department for the EMG test. EMG is a test that requires a long time of examination. Therefore, a doctor appointment should be made in advance. The examination is done in the EMG laboratory in an average of 1.5 – 2 hours. During the examination, electrodes are placed on certain parts of the body and electrical signals are recorded.