What is an Electromyogram (EMG)
What is an Electromyogram (EMG)

Diagnostics & Testing

What is an Electromyogram (EMG)?

An Electromyogram (EMG) is a test that measures the electrical activity of the muscles.

What is a nerve conduction study (NCS)?

NCS measures the speed of conduction of electrical impulses through a nerve, calculated by measuring the distance between electrodes and the time it takes for electrical impulses to travel between electrodes.

Why do patients need to have these tests?

An NCS or EMG can help a physician distinguish the cause of numbness or paralysis, muscle weakness or spasms, and the cause of pain in the arms, hands, legs, feet and face. The results will allow the ordering physician to be able to determine the course of treatment.

Before the procedure

  • Please bring your Emirates ID and insurance card
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. First, you will meet with a Patient Access Representative (PAR) at the registration desk, who will review your medical insurance card, Emirates ID and perform your registration check in. You will then see a technician who will gather details about your medical history.
    You will then meet with a neurology physician, and who will explain the procedure in detail. Your physician will obtain your consent for procedure and answer any questions that you may have.

What will happen during the test?

The study consists of two parts:

  • The first part of the test involves nerve conduction studies (NCS) that are performed by a technologist. This part measures the ability of nerves to transmit electrical impulses or messages to their respective muscles. This part involves a small and brief electrical stimulus.
  • The second part of the test involves EMG performed by a physician specializing in EMG, who examines and measures the electrical activity in your muscles. This involves a very thin gauge needle that acts like a microphone when inserted into the muscle. Nothing is pushed in or pulled out through the needle. A number of muscles are examined this way, based on the clinical problem.

For both parts of the test, the patient may feel some uncomfortable sensations.

Things to know about an EMG at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and its satellites: 

  • Patients have both NCS and needle examination when an EMG is ordered.
  • The length of stay is one to two hours for both parts of the test. Please plan to stay for the duration of the procedure, depending on what your physician orders.


  • The duration of your symptoms is less than 3 weeks
  • You are taking any of the following medications:

- Mestinon (pyridostigmine bromide)

- Coumadine (crystalline warfarin sodium)

- Lovenox (enoxaparin)

- Heparin

  • You have any bleeding disorder
  • You have any internal devices implanted (defibrillators, internal pain stimulators, deep brain stimulators, etc.)

The day of the procedure

  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
  • You are not required to fast prior to this study.
  • Bathing is recommended to make sure that there are no oils, lotions, creams or perfume on the skin. Please do not apply any of these items before the test. This will ensure the best results during the test.
  • You will be asked to change into a gown but may leave your undergarments on.
  • Only one family member is allowed into the procedure room while test is being performed.
  • No mobile phone usage is allowed during the test.
  • Please be on time for your appointment, otherwise it will be rescheduled.

Please notify the call center if you will be late for your appointment. The grace period is 15 minutes only.

How will I know the results of my test?

Your test results will be sent to the physician who ordered the test.
You will meet with a Patient Access Representative (PAR) at the registration desk who will review your follow-up appointment schedule. Results will be released by the HIMS (Hospital Information Management System), located on Level P1, after five working days. During your follow-up appointment, your physician will discuss your test results with you.
Expected side effects following NCS of EMG

There are no side effects associated with this procedure. 

If you have any questions, please call Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi at 800 8 CCAD (2223), extension 65819, Sunday through Thursday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

© Copyright 2017 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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