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Electromyography Lab

The Electromyography Lab located in the South Texas Spinal Clinic’s Westgate office, is one of only two accredited EMG labs in San Antonio.

For the Physician

The Electrodiagnostic Medicine consultation evaluates nerve and muscle function. Dr. David Hirsch, DO, (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist) is a Fellow in Electrodiagnostic Medicine.

The Electrodiagnostic Lab at South Texas Spinal Clinic is one of only two accredited labs in San Antonio and is one of ten in Texas. An Electrodiagnostic Medicine consultant undergoes specialized training in nerve and muscle testing that maximizes the ability to consider appropriate differential diagnoses.

A doctor’s designation as an American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (ABEM) Fellow demonstrates he has obtained specific training and passed a comprehensive written, oral, and waveform identification examination in the evaluation of disorders of the neuromuscular system.

The AANEM laboratory accreditation indicates his lab has achieved the highest level of quality, performance, and integrity based on professional standards. Accreditation provides labs specializing in EMGs with a structured mechanism to assess, evaluate, and improve the quality of care provided to their patients.

The American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine’s policy is that an appropriately trained doctor should do all needle EMG testing.

The EMG/NCS lab under Dr David Hirsch is 1 of 2 accredited labs in San Antonio and 1 of only 10 in Texas.

For The Patient

What is an NCS?
In order to better diagnose and treat your symptoms your doctor has ordered a test called an NCS, which stands for Nerve Conduction Study. NCS testing will measure the speed and strength of the signals that travel in the nerves to your muscles. In other words, it will inform your doctor of the condition of your nerves.

What is an EMG?
An EMG, or Electromyography Test, will assess your muscle’s activity when activated by your nerves. In order to perform this test the doctor will insert a very fine, almost acupuncture-like needle into your muscle. This needle electrode then records the electrical activity in the muscle during contraction and at rest.

What to expect during your NCS test:
To perform an NCS the tech will apply small sticky pads to either of your hands for testing of your neck and arms, or the top of your feet for testing of your lower back and legs. The most uncomfortable part of the test is the small electrical pulse used to stimulate the nerve. Once the nerve is stimulated the machine will record pictures of the nerve response. A doctor who specializes in reading nerve tests will read these pictures and make a full report to your doctor within 10 working days.

What to expect during your EMG test:
During an EMG test, electrodes will be placed on various locations on your skin depending on where you are experiencing symptoms. A thin sterile needle is then inserted into the symptomatic muscles to assess electrical activity within them. The most you will feel is a pinch as the needle is inserted. Most patients tolerate the procedure very well and only have some minor, temporary bruising.

What do EMG or NCS Stand For?

EMG is short for Electromyography and NCS is short for Nerve Conduction Studies.

Patient Symptoms that an EMG can help explain:

  • Pain
  • Numbness & tingling
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Atrophy

Problems EMGs can help diagnose:

  • Lumbar Radiculopathy (Sciatica)
  • Cervical Radiculopathy
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Ulnar Nerve Problems
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Myopathy

How to prepare for your test:

  • Avoid caffeine the day of your test until completed
  • Do not use body lotion or oil non the day of the test
  • No restrictions for food
  • Take medications as usual

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