An electrodiagnostic exam typically involves two parts. The first is called a nerve conduction study, and consists of groups of short electrical pulses produced by a stimulator placed on the skin. The second is called electromyography, or EMG. This is performed by placing a thin pin into various muscles to check the condition of those muscles and their associated nerves. Together, these tests are designed to obtain information about the integrity and function of nerves in the neck, low back, arms and/or legs. They can determine whether or not there is evidence of a pinched nerve, which may be causing the patient’s symptoms.
This test is a valuable diagnostic tool and may help the physician to pinpoint a specific cause of a nerve or muscle condition. EDT may be helpful in establishing or substantiating diagnoses including carpal tunnel syndrome, peroneal nerve entrapment in the leg, diabetic neuropathy, cervical or lumbar radiculopathy (pinched nerve in the neck or low back, respectively), as well as many others. The test usually takes about 15-30 minutes to perform, depending on the number of areas to be studied.
The only preparation needed by the patient for this test is to avoid putting any lotions or oils onto the skin the day of the procedure (These substances may interfere with electrical recording during the test).