What are EMG-NCV studies?

Electromyography and nerve conduction velocity (EMG-NCV) studies refer to diagnostic tests that assess muscle activity and nerve signals. They’re two separate studies but often conducted at the same time. The purpose of each study includes:


An electromyogram assesses muscle and motor neuron (nerves that signal muscle function) health. This diagnostic test may be able to determine if your condition is due to muscle or nerve dysfunction or an issue with the nerve to muscle communication.


While the EMG focuses on the muscle and nerves within the muscle, the NCV focuses solely on the nerves. This test measures the speed of your nerve signals and can determine if your symptoms are due to nerve damage.

The team at WeCare Neurology uses the results of the EMG-NCV studies to determine if your condition is due to a muscle or nerve problem.

Am I a good candidate for EMG-NCV studies?

Either your primary care physician or your specialist at WeCare Neurology determines if you’re a good candidate for an EMG-NCV study.

You may benefit from the diagnostic testing if you’re experiencing pain, muscle weakness, or numbness and tingling that has no clear underlying cause.

The tests may be used to either diagnose or rule out a cause. Conditions that can be diagnosed with EMG-NCV studies include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Herniated disc
  • Guillain-barre syndrome
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Muscular dystrophy

An EMG-NCV study may also be used to monitor your recovery following nerve damage.

What can I expect during EMG-NCV studies?

Your EMG-NCV studies are conducted right in the office. Your doctor at WeCare Neurology provides specific instructions on how to prepare for the test.

The length of your test depends on the number of nerves and muscles being tested and may range from 15-60 minutes.

The NCV test is usually performed first. During this test, your doctor places electrodes over the nerves suspected of being damaged.

Then, a mild electrical impulse is sent to the nerve to assess the rate of the signal. If the speed of the signal is slower than normal, then it may indicate nerve damage.

During the EMG test, your doctor places electrodes on your skin and tiny needles into your muscle. Then, a mild electrical current is sent to the muscle to assess its activity.

EMG-NCV studies are valuable diagnostic tools used to assess nerve and muscle function. To learn more, call WeCare Neurology or request an appointment online today.

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