Tests and Procedures

Nerve Conduction and EMG Tests

What is a Nerve Conduction Velocity Test?
(Also Known as a Nerve Conduction Study)

The purpose of a Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) Test is to measure how fast electrical signals travel through particular peripheral nerves (peripheral nerves are nerves in the body besides the brain and spinal cord), and through these measurements, if and how much nerve damage exists in the patient.

NCV Tests help differentiate between injuries to nerve fibers and injuries to the myelin sheath that covers and protects the nerves. In particular, they are used to test for muscular and neuromuscular disorders. These tests usually take up to an hour to complete and consists of a series of electric pulses being sent through the muscle and nerve using a group of metal discs that attach to the body. The speed of muscle contraction is measured, which is known as conduction velocity.

Electromyograms (EMG)

Electromyograms (also known as EMGs) are tests to help distinguish whether muscle weakness is purely muscular or neuromuscular in nature. In an EMG, a needle electrode is inserted into the muscle to measure the electrical activity of muscles.

Both procedures are considered non-invasive and carry very little risk associated with them. If you are experiencing tingling, pain, weakness, or numbness in your muscles, consult with your doctor about whether NCV or EMG tests are the correct course of action.