Nerve Conduction Studies and EMG's at Spire Clare Park Hospital

Spire Clare Park Hospital in Farnham, on the Surrey/Hampshire border, is working with Wimbledon NeuroCare to give patients expert treatment in a safe, clean and comfortable environment. Our patients are treated by Dr Al-Khayatt, an expert consultant clinical neurophysiologist specialising in neuromuscular disorders.

If you have pain, numbness, pins and needles in limbs, weakness in any muscle co-ordination, you may need these tests to find out the cause of your symptoms or to exclude a variety of nerve and muscle diseases which may cause similar symptoms.

What are Nerve Conduction Studies and EMG’s?

A Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) measures how well the signals travel across the nerves, nerve roots or at the junction of the nerve and muscle. An Electromyography (EMG) measures the electrical activity of muscle fibres at rest and during various degrees of muscle contraction.

What can the tests detect?

The tests can help diagnose conditions such as damage to the peripheral nervous system including any nerve compression such as carpal tunnel syndrome (pain, numbness and/or tingling in the hands and fingers) and sciatica (pain and/or irritation in the nerve running from your pelvis to your feet).

It can also diagnose disorders of nerve roots, muscle disorders, motor neuron disease (damage to the nervous system leading to progressive weakness and usually with muscle wasting) and disorders of the muscle and joint junction such as myasthenia (the weakening of voluntary muscle movements, e.g. swallowing).

The tests are also used to assess the effect of treatment, rate of improvement or deterioration, and prognosis for various nerve and muscle disorders.

What happens during the test?

The tests take approximately 20 minutes, however it may take longer for complicated problems.

NCS – Small electrodes are attached to the skin to measure the ability of your nerves to conduct electrical signals. A very short electrical pulse is applied to the nerve and the response is recorded. During the NCS patients may feel quick mild tingling sensations, but most people do not find this painful.

EMG – A small needle, much like an acupuncture needle, is inserted into the muscle. The activity of the muscle fibres are recorded by listening to and observing the potentials on the screen using specialised computer software. Most people do not have a problem during the test; however there may be some initial discomfort when the needle electrode is inserted into the muscle.

The type and number of muscles tested in each test will depend upon the symptoms and nature of illness which needs to be diagnosed or excluded. A minority of patients may be extra sensitive to electrical impulses and therefore find the test very uncomfortable. In these cases the test can usually still go ahead by limiting the number of tests and using various distractions.

Preparing for the test

For the test it is helpful to wear loose fitting clothes to enable easy access to the muscle or nerve where the test will take place, and avoid using moisturising creams on the day of the tests as they can interfere with the recordings. Also, it is important to be warm for the test as coldness can slow down the velocity of impulses, in winter it is sensible to wear gloves when coming for the test.

Please let your consultant know if you have any of the following:

- Allergies

- A pacemaker

- Prescription medicines

- A contagious skin disease

- Are HIV or Hepatitis B positive

- Have a bleeding problem (haemophilia or low platelets) or you are taking blood thinning medicine

The results will be sent to the referring physician within 48 hours. Your referring physician will discuss the results with you.

Are there any risks?

There are no side effects or complications following routine NCS, as the voltage of electrical pulses are too low to cause any injury. After an EMG the muscle may feel slightly itchy or ache for a few minutes, there might also be a slight bruise. However, there is no risk of infection as the needles are disposable. You will be able to return to your normal activities immediately after the investigation.

Book an appointment

We offer our services to patients with private medical insurance and also for those who wish to self-pay. For self-paying patients we offer inclusive care packages which give patients the peace of mind that all their treatment is paid for before they come in to hospital for their procedure.

For more information on Nerve Conduction Studies and EMG's at Spire Clare Park Hospital, please contact our Patient Information Advisers on 01252 895 490, or complete the form on the right-hand side of this page. 

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