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Neuromuscular Diagnostic Tests and Screenings

Neuromuscular disorders – ranging from muscular dystrophies (Duchenne and myotonic muscular dystrophy) to inflammatory muscle diseases (polymyositis, dermatomyositis and inclusion body myositis) – are difficult to diagnose and require careful clinical assessment. Atlantic Health System Neuroscience's Neuromuscular Disorders Program specializes in diagnosing neuromuscular disorders using detailed evaluations, including specific blood tests, muscle biopsy, and electromyography (EMG) to identify each patient’s condition and develop the most effective treatment plan.

EMG and Nerve Conduction Studies

EMG, which measures function in peripheral nerves and muscles, is used to evaluate patients with nerve compression ( carpal tunnel syndrome), radiculopathies (pinched nerves in the spine), diseases of the nerves (peripheral neuropathies, Lou Gehrig’s disease), disorders of the neuromuscular junction ( myasthenia gravis) and muscle diseases such as myositis and muscular dystrophy.

During an EMG, brief electrical impulses are applied to the skin at different sites, and the patient’s responses are recorded electronically. For many patients, the test will require the insertion of a small needle into various sites to record the electrical currents generated by the muscles themselves, without any applied electrical stimulus.

Some nerve disorders, which affect only the smaller peripheral nerve fibers, may be assessed with a nerve conduction study, such as a small skin biopsy.