Does it hurt?
Parts of the test are uncomfortable but not severely painful. The worry before the test can be more of a factor than the test itself. Most of the time spent with the patient is setting up the studies and running the computer. Electrical stimulation and use of the pin electrode is only a very small amount of the time.
The electrical stimulation of the nerve conduction study can feel like a static electricity shock from a doorknob after walking across carpet.
Putting in the pin can feel like a pinch by someone's nails. (And how do we know this? We have done it on ourselves first!)
Is sedation or anesthesia used?
Not in most cases. The test is fairly well tolerated and the patient needs to be awake to follow instructions, if possible, during the exam. A very mild dose of medication can be given if a patient or caregiver feels that it is needed based on how the child has handled tests in the past. You may bring a pacifier or bottle to help soothe a baby.
Please call the Pediatric Rehab office at 513-636-7480 to discuss this need or if you have any questions.
Are there any side effects from a nerve conduction test or EMG?
There are no real side effects. Patients may have some minor irritation at the site when the pin is placed. There are no lasting effects from either the nerve conduction test or the EMG.
Is there an age limit on this test?
No, any person from baby to older adult can have an EMG. Baby and toddler exams can be more restricted if they are not able to cooperate because of their young age.
Can the caregiver be in the room during the exam?
Yes, we have no limits on caregivers / parents being in the room. It is up to these people to decide if they prefer to be in the room or not. It most cases, the parents / caregivers choose to stay in the room.
What should be done if the child becomes frightened during the test?
Comfort the child and remind them that each thing will be explained to them before it is done.
We make special effort to make the child as comfortable as possible. We have a large mat table where they can lie down. They can bring their favorite music on a portable player with headphones if this would be helpful (or anything else that can distract from the test). We also have a TV with DVD player on hand. A Child Life Specialist may also work with your child, using games and media during the test.
Will I get test results the same day?
The doctor doing the test can give you a sense of any obvious abnormal results at the end of the test. A full reading is done at a later time, and the full report is sent to the doctor who referred the child.
The referring doctor is the best person to discuss the results with you. They will have the EMG results along with the results from any other tests done.
Who does the actual testing?
A doctor (MD) who has received special training and has a great amount of experience will do the test. At times there may be a doctor in training there who will be watching or doing certain parts of the exam under direct supervision of the lead doctor.