Electromyogram and Nerve Conduction Velocity

Also known as: EMG, electromyography, nerve conduction study, NCS, electromyogram, EMG.

What is electromyography and nerve conduction velocity?

An electromyogram (EMG) measures muscle activity at rest and with movement from small needles placed in the muscle.

A nerve conduction study (NCS) uses discs on the skin to record how fast (nerve conduction velocity) a small electrical current will travel through your child’s nerves.

Both studies help your pediatric neurologist diagnose the cause of many nerve and muscular disorders. Generally most children tolerate both procedures without difficulty.

What happens during the procedure?

For the electromyogram a technician places small needles into the muscles in order to record electrical muscle activity at rest and when your child is asked to move the limb.

Nerve conduction measures nerve activity from electrodes (like stickers) placed on the skin after a small amount of electrical current is passed through the nerve.

Is any special preparation needed?

No special preparation is needed and usually no sedation or anesthetic is needed.

What are the risk factors?

While some muscle twitching may be felt and the pin prick of the needles may cause some discomfort children manage both tests well. Most children will be able to go to school the next day (the tests only take approximately one hour).

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 03, 2021 09:59 AM

Neuromuscular and Movement Disorders Program

Specializing in the treatment of muscular dystrophies, neuropathies, spinal muscular atrophy and congenital myopathies.

Learn more

Upcoming Events

3rd Annual Vascular Birthmarks Meeting<br />A Virtual Event

Date: Saturday, November 13, 2021

Learn more about the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of vascular birthmarks in children and adolescents. Learn more.

Register Online

Learn more about

Neuromuscular Disorders

Neuromuscular diseases are a large complex group of different types of disorders (for example muscular dystrophies) which affect the cells in the spinal cord, the nerves, the junction between the nerve and muscle (neuromuscular junction) and/or the muscles, that allow for muscle movement. Learn more

Nerve Injuries

Nerves are the system of fibers that carry signals from the brain to the rest of the body. When an injury or damage occurs to one or many nerves, these are known as nerve injuries. Learn more