Electromyography (EMG) tests muscles and nerves to see if they are working properly. The test usually takes about 1 hour.

Suite B817, The Vanderbilt Clinic
1121 22nd Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37232
(615) 322-0959
Map and Directions

How to Prepare

  • If you take aspirin, blood thinners (such as Coumadin), have a pacemaker, or have hemophilia, please tell your referring doctor’s office and our lab at least 1 week before your test date.
  • On the morning of the test, take a bath or shower to remove oils from your skin.
  • Don't use body lotion or oils on the day of the test.
  • In cold weather, wear gloves and closed-toe shoes to keep your hands and feet warm before the test.

What to Expect
An EMG usually has two parts:

1. Nerve Conduction Study (NCS): This shows how the body’s electrical signals are traveling in the nerves. This is done by applying electrical currents to one point on the nerve and recording from another. This causes a mild tingling that passes quickly. The doctor or technologist may have to test several nerves.

2. Needle Electromyography (EMG): A small, thin needle is inserted into a muscle to record electrical activity. The test site depends on where the problem area is in your body. You may be asked to contract the muscle. There may be some slight pain when the needle is inserted. The doctor will only examine the muscles necessary to diagnose your problem.

After the Test
You can go back to your normal routine right away after an EMG.