Electrodiagnostic (EMG) Services
The department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation offers electrodiagnostic studies to referring physicians and patients. Electrodiagnostic studies have developed over the last 100 years and became a common medical procedure in the 1950s. Our Electrodiagnostic laboratory is accredited by the American Association of Electrodiagnostic and Neuromuscular Medicine (AANEM) in recognition for providing high quality electrodiagnostic services to our patients. Our physicians have obtained, or are preparing to obtain, certification in Electrodiagnostic Medicine in order to provide the highest quality care to patients.
Why do I need an Electrodiagnostic study?
Patients referred for an electrodiagnostic study have symptoms attributed to injury or disease to nerves and muscles. As physiatrists, we work with primary care physicians, orthopaedists and neurosurgeons to evaluate problems with the peripheral nervous system. The most common symptoms evaluated are numbness, tingling, pain and weakness of the arms, legs or face. Electrodiagnostic studies are combined with a medical history and physical examination to determine the location and severity of nerve or muscle injury/disease.
An electrodiagnostic study (EMG study) consists of two parts: nerve conduction studies and electromyography.
Nerve Conduction Studies: consist of stimulation of peripheral nerves in the arms, legs or face with small amounts of electricity. The studies evaluate the electrical properties and function of nerves to help detect disease or injury.
Electromyography: consists of the insertion of a small needle (slightly larger than an acupuncture needle) through the skin into a muscle to examine electrical properties and function. Approximately 5-10 muscles are tested with each study.
How do I prepare for my Electrodiagnostic study?
Minimal preparation is needed prior to the study. You may take all your medications (including pain medication and blood thinning medications) prior to the study. Taking ibuprofen 800mg prior to your study may decrease some of the discomfort. Shower or bathe the day prior and do not apply lotion or cream to the skin for 2 days prior to your study (creams and lotions interfere with the electrical leads used for the study). In most cases, electrodiagnostic studies can be performed for patients who have metal implants, pacemakers, and electrical stimulators.
What can I expect during my Electrodiagnostic study?
You will be asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to the test to prepare for your study. You will be asked to wear a gown and lie on an examination table to perform the study. We ask you to remove metal jewelry from the limb being studied. The limb will also be warmed with a hot pack to provide more accurate results.
We are a teaching program as part of the University of Rochester Medical Center. A resident physician may assist your examining physician in obtaining your medical history, conducting a physical examination and performing the electrodiagnostic study. The attending physician will be present for the key portions of the examination.
There is mild discomfort during the Electrodiagnostic study. Patients rate the level of discomfort between 3-4 on a 10-point numerical pain scale. The physician performing your test has experienced the same test multiple times and is familiar with the discomfort associated with the study. This experience assists us in completing your study in an efficient manner.
Are there risks or side effects associated with an Electrodiagnostic study?
There are minimal risks associated with the study. The most common side effects are mild muscle soreness and bruising for several days following the test. There is small risk of lung puncture (pneumothorax) with examination of certain muscles of the chest or spine. There are no restrictions following the study and patients can return to normal activity.
How will I receive the results of my Electrodiagnostic study?
The testing physician may discuss the study results with you after completion of the test. A written report will be sent to your referring physician after the study.
Please call (585) 275-5321 for an appointment.
David Speach, M.D., Division Chief, Spine and Electrodiagnostic Program
Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Neuromuscular Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine
John Orsini, M.D.
Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pain Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine
Eric Morrison, M.D., M.Sc.
Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Electrodiagnostic Medicine
Sara Z. Salim, M.D.
Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation