Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have
any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not
medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s
health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this
information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 2/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and
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EMG (Electromyogram) and NCS (Nerve Conduction Study)
What is an EMG/NCS?
Your doctor has ordered an EMG
(electromyogram) and an NCS (nerve
conduction study) for you. An EMG/NCS is
the electrical study of your nerves and
muscles. This study helps your doctor to
decide on the cause of your symptoms and
plan the best treatment for you. There is no
special prep for the test. If you have any
questions about an EMG/NCS, be sure to ask
your doctor or nurse.
Where is the location of the EMG/NCS
If you are an inpatient, we will come to your
bedside for the test.
If you are an outpatient at UWHC (the main
hospital and clinics at 600 Highland Ave.),
you will need to stop and register in the clinic
lobby on the 2
floor. After registration,
follow Main Street through the H elevator
lobby to the J module and check in at the
Neurodiagnostics reception desk. If you need
help finding our location, staff at the
registration or information desk can direct
If you are an outpatient at 20 South Park,
Neurology clinic, you will register in the 1st
floor clinic lobby of the 20 S. Park building
(on the corner of Park St. and Regent St.).
After registration, please come to Suite 202
Neurology on the second floor.
What is NCS?
The NCS is the first part of this test. It
studies your nerves. Small metal discs are
taped on your skin based on the nerves that
are going to be tested. Then, a small
electrical current is used to stimulate the
This electrical testing will be done on
several nerves and may be done at different
sites along the nerve. The electrical current
produces a tingling, slightly uncomfortable
sensation. The testing room may be
darkened so that the electrical activity can
be seen easily on a computer monitor.
What is an EMG?
The EMG is the second part of this test,
which studies your muscles. First, a small
metal disc (about the size of a fifty-cent
piece) will be taped to your skin. Then, the
doctor will insert a small needle into your
muscle and record your muscle’s electrical
activity. EMG testing may be done on several
different muscles but each muscle is tested
one at a time. During the test, you will hear
crackling sounds coming from the computer
speaker. This is the electrical activity from
your muscles, which has been changed into
sound waves. You do not receive any
electrical current for this part of the test. The
EMG can be somewhat uncomfortable
because of the small needle that is inserted
into your muscle. For a day or two after the
test, you may feel some tenderness or notice a
small bruise on your skin around the sites
where the needle was inserted.
The entire EMG/NCS testing can take about 1
to 1½ hours. Please do not use hand or body
oils and lotions on the affected area for 24
hours before the test. After the test, we will
send the results to the doctor that referred you
to us for testing. If you have further questions,
please feel free to call us. For appointments
at UWCH please call, (608) 263-7247 or
1-800-323-8942. For appointments at 20 S.
Park please call, (608) 287-2090 or
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is