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Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) / Electromyography (EMG)

Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) / Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic test that assesses the health of nerves and muscles.


There are two parts to the test:

1. Nerve Conduction Study

This measures the flow of electrical impulses along a nerve to check for nerve damage. It is often done before the Needle Electrode Examination, a complementary test to check how well muscles are functioning.

2. Needle Electrode Examination

This checks how well muscles are functioning.

The test may take up to anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes depending upon the complexity of the case.

How should I prepare for the tests?

  • Do not apply body lotion on your arms and legs.
  • Wear a loose shirt, blouse, bermuda shorts or shorts.
  • Tell a staff member before the test if you:
    • Have an implanted electronic device (pacemaker or defibrillator or neurostimulator).
    • Are on blood-thinning (anti-coagulant) medications like Warfarin, Heparin, Novel Oral Anti-Coagulants (NOACs) e.g. Apixaban, Dabigatran, Edoxaban, Rivaroxaban.
      For more advice on implants, medications and EMG, contact 6330 6363.


Nerve Conduction Study

How is the test performed?

The test is done by a neuro electrophysiologist and takes around 30 minutes to an hour.

  • This test is done while you are lying down.
  • A stimulator is placed on your skin to stimulate the nerve at various points along your arms and/or legs. You will feel a brief, mild electric shock over the stimulation point. The mild electric shock may cause some discomfort, but is safe.
  • The electrical activity in the nerve is detected by electrodes and recorded.
  • This process is repeated over various parts of the body e.g. wrist, ankle, depending on the nerves to be tested.
  • Once the test is done, you will proceed for the needle electrode examination, if required.


Needle Electrode Examination

How is the test performed?

The test is done by an EMG-trained neurologist and takes around 30 minutes.

  • This test is done while you are lying down.
  • A disposable sterile needle is inserted into the muscle. You may feel a slight sting or discomfort during this process.
  • After the needle is inserted, you will be asked to do some light movements to test the muscle.
  • The electrical signals in the muscle are recorded by the needle.
  • This process is repeated over various parts of the body e.g. arms, calves, depending on the muscles to be tested.
  • Once the test is done, you can go home, there may be a minor bruising.
  • A detailed report will be sent to your doctor within seven working days. Your doctor will discuss the findings with you at your next appointment.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are these tests safe?

The tests are generally safe although some patients may experience discomfort. The electrophysiologist and doctor will be with you throughout the process. If you feel unwell, speak to the neuro electrophysiologist or doctor.

It is normal for your muscles to feel sore after the test. It should get better after a few days. If you feel severe pain or swelling at the site, call us.

Can I undergo the test if I am feeling unwell?

No. If you are feeling unwell e.g. fever, cough, do not proceed with the test. Call to reschedule your appointment.

Have questions or concerns? Call:

Tel: 6330 6363

Office Hours:
8.00am – 5.30pm, Mon – Wed, Fri
8.00am – 5.00pm, Thurs
Closed on Sat, Sun, Public Holidays

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The information is correct as of July 2021 and subject to revisions without notice.