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Nerve conduction studies and Electromyography

 What is a Nerve Conduction Study? 

A nerve conduction study is a test on the nerves in the arms and/or legs.   These studies are performed by passing a small, controlled electric current along the nerve and measuring how long it takes for the current to travel along the nerve.  Electrodes are placed on the hands/ arms or feet/legs.  Electrical pulses are passed through the skin and recordings are made of the signals further along the nerve. The electrical pulses produce a tingling sensation, which can be uncomfortable but should not be painful.  Some of the pulses with cause your muscles to briefly twitch.

What is Electromyography (EMG)? 

Electromyography is the recording of the electrical activity that your muscle naturally produces.  This is done by placing a fine recording needle into the muscle. The small size of the needle means that it should not be uncomfortable, you will feel a pinprick.  Several muscles will be tested.   As with all needles, you may be left with a bruise.  If you take blood-thinning medications (called anti-coagulants) such as aspirin or warfarin please inform the Physiologist before test.


These tests take 45-60 minutes. There are no after effects and after the investigation you will be able to go home or to work/school. The results of the investigation need to be analysed afterwards and a full report will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the test.

Please inform the doctor or Physiologist if you have a pacemaker.


How do I prepare for the test? 

Your hands and feet must be clean and as warm as possible. 

Do not use hand lotions or creams. 

Loose fitting clothing that can be rolled up to the upper arm and mid-thigh is helpful.

Bracelets, rings and watches will have to be removed for tests on the hands.  If you are unable to remove a ring please do not have it cut off, we will be able to work around it. 

Socks or tights need to be removed for investigations on the feet.

If you are taking medications you should take them at the usual time.  Please bring a list of your medication with you.

Continue to eat meals as normal.

There are no side effects from the test.  

How long will I have to wait? 

You have been given a specific appointment time and patients are usually seen on time.  It is important that you arrive on time.  Please allow plenty of time for parking.


When will I get the results? 

The results are sent to the doctor that referred you for the test and are usually available within seven days. 

If you have any concerns or questions please speak to a Clinical Physiologist on the number below.



Neurophysiology Department   01422 222976