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Electromyogram or EMG test, is performed to check the health of the nerves controlling the muscles and to examine the functioning of the muscles themselves. During the test the doctor inserts a tiny needle electrode into the muscle, which picks up the electrical signals produced and projects them to a monitor. The test requires the patient to contract the muscle in order to activate the electric flow. The monitor provides relevant information on the ability of the muscle to respond to stimulation.

Electromyogram requires no special preparation, but it is important to control body temperature and have the EMG test performed under normal circumstances, given that extreme cold can affect the conduction of the current. Also, anticoagulants and blood thinners can alter the result, so it is better to inform the doctor prior to the test.

As a needle is inserted into the skin, some discomfort is bound to be felt and  bruising can also be expected in the location for a few days.

The Electromyogram Procedure

When people arrive to the doctor to complain about symptoms of muscle weakness, the EMG test can show the nature of muscle impairment when it comes to differentiating whether the muscle weakness stems from an injury or neurologic disorders.

Normal electromyogram results show little electrical activity while the muscle is at rest and some activity when flexed. Contractions will increase the electrical activity and after a few moments the monitor will show a pattern. The doctor evaluates this pattern and determines how the muscle is behaving.

Among the common conditions and disorder causing abnormal results detected in the muscles by the EMG test we find:

  • Alcoholic neuropathy
  • Axillary nerve dysfunction
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Common peroneal nerve dysfunction
  • Denervation or reduced nerve stimulation
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
  • Familial periodic paralysis
  • Femoral nerve dysfunction
  • Mononeuropathy
  • Myopathy or muscle degeneration caused by muscular dystrophy
  • Polymyositis
  • Radial nerve dysfunction
  • Sensorimotor polyneuropathy
  • Shy-Drager syndrome
  • Tibial nerve dysfunction

 Electromyogram Costs

Being a diagnostic tool, electromyogram is covered by most health insurers. Electromyogram costs may vary depending on the clinic performing the electromyogram procedure and the professional experience of the physician. Prices can range between $200 to $2,500.

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