Nerve studies are diagnostic evaluations of nerve activity used to identify and assess the extent of nerve damage and to guide therapy and treatment. They’re also used to manage treatment of specific nerve or neuromuscular diseases and disorders like multiple sclerosis or myasthenia gravis.
NCS stands for nerve conduction studies, evaluations designed to assess the efficiency of the nerves in accurately transmitting signals from specific muscles to the brain. Nerve conduction studies are often performed to determine the cause of pain, numbness and other nerve-related symptoms and to assess the extent nerve damage in a specific area. To perform the study, electrodes are placed on the skin and used to monitor reaction times when the nerve is stimulated by tiny electrical impulses.
EMG stands for electromyelogram (or electromyogram), a test that’s used to assess nerve or electrical activity in the muscles when they’re at rest and when they’re flexed or contracted. EMGs are used to help diagnose and treat spasms, numbness or weakness in the muscles and to determine the cause of those symptoms. EMGs can be conducted using electrodes placed on top of the skin or by placing a tiny needle probe directly into the muscle. Tiny currents transmitted through the probe help track electrical activity in the muscle fibers to determine if an issue related to a problem with the muscle tissue, with the nerves that control the muscle, or with the way the nerves and muscles interact.
NCV stands for nerve conduction velocity test, and it’s used to measure or assess how well specific nerves are transmitting the tiny electrical impulses or nerve signals that help control muscle movements and other functions. NCVs typically are performed to help diagnose nerve damage and the extent of that damage and to evaluate certain diseases of the nerves or the muscles. During the test, tiny electrical impulses are transmitted to the nerves via special electrodes. Then the nerve “reaction times” are monitored and measured to determine how quickly and how far nerve signals are transmitted along the nerve pathway.