Electromyography, EMG

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Electromyography, EMG
Electromyography, EMG
Video: Electromyography, EMG
Video: Electromyography (EMG) & Nerve conduction studies (NCS) 2023, February

Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography is used to study electrical activity in muscles. In order for muscles to tense up, the nervous system has to transmit small electrical impulses to the muscles. The potentials that are measured and displayed using EMG are different in healthy and diseased muscles. In principle, electromyography can be derived from almost any muscle. The examination is carried out sitting or lying down.


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  • When is electromyography necessary?
  • What preparations are required?
  • How is the examination performed?
  • What complications / side effects are there?
  • Where is electromyography performed?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

When is electromyography necessary?

The EMG can be used to differentiate neuromuscular diseases. The important question of whether a disease originates in the muscle itself (myopathy) or whether the associated nerve is diseased (neuropathy) can thus be answered.

What preparations are required?

No special preparation is required for an EMG. Small children and infants are sometimes given sedative medication before the exam.

Note Blood-thinning medication (such as Marcoumar or Sintrom) should be discontinued a few days prior to the examination after consulting your doctor!

How is the examination performed?

In principle, an EMG can be derived from almost any muscle. The examination is carried out sitting or lying down. To derive the electrical activity, a thin sterile needle electrode with a diameter of 0.45 mm and approx. 5 cm in length is pierced through the skin into the muscle to be examined. First, the muscles are completely relaxed, followed by light and strong tension. The electrode needle must be pushed back and forth several times. The recorded electrical signals are amplified and displayed with the aid of a computer.

What complications / side effects are there?

The EMG is a low-risk routine procedure. Penetrating and moving the electrode needles in the muscle, as well as tensing the muscle during the examination, can be painful.

The following complications rarely occur:

  • temporary pain after sticking the electrodes.
  • Injury to small blood vessels (larger bleeding is not to be expected if there is no increased bleeding tendency, for example from taking blood-thinning medication such as Marcoumar or Sintrom)
  • Injury to neighboring structures when examining special muscles (e.g. eye, sphincter, pelvic floor muscles)

Where is electromyography performed?

Electromyography can be performed by resident specialists in neurology or in hospitals with a neurological department. A referral / referral by your treating doctor is required depending on the situation. If a neurologist is called upon directly, no referral / referral is necessary.

  • You can find specialists in neurology in your area under Services: Doctor search.
  • You can find hospitals (with neurological departments) in your area under the search for a clinic.

How are the costs going to be covered?

For an electromyography, you may need a doctor's referral / referral, depending on the situation. This is valid for one month from the date of issue. The costs are covered by your health insurance provider.

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