Electrodiagnostic testing is a type of diagnostic procedure that measures the speed and degree of electrical activity within the muscles and nerves in order to diagnose conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome or other conditions that place pressure on specific nerves. In healthy patients, nerves and muscles generate electrical signals to communicate with the brain. Injury or disease can affect the nerves and muscles and disrupt this communication, causing pain, weakness, numbness and other symptoms throughout the affected area.
Two of the most commonly used exams for electrodiagnostic testing include an electromyography and a nerve conduction study. Electromyography involves placing small needles in the targeted muscle to measure electrical activity. Patients will be asked to relax and tense their muscle to generate signals. Nerve conduction studies involve attaching electrodes to the skin and stimulating the targeted nerve with an electric current to determine how fast signals can travel through the nerves. These procedures may be performed together in order to confirm a diagnosis.
In addition to diagnosis, electrodiagnostic testing may be performed to determine the extent of nerve damage after an injury, or to learn the effects of diseases that affect the nerves and muscles. It is important for patients to choose an experienced doctor to perform their testing in order to receive accurate results. Your doctor will determine the best form of treatment for you after analyzing the results of your tests.