What is an Electromyographic Exam and what it is used for?
An electromyographic exam is an essential diagnostic tool that makes it possible to identify possible conditions or damage, sometimes even in a subclinical phase, affecting the peripheral nervous system and/or the muscle, defines the location and the severity of the injury, helps with the diagnosis and prognosis of a disease, as well as with the evaluation of the effects of a particular treatment.
With an Electromyographic Exam it is possible to evaluate the various levels of impairment of the peripheral nervous system:
- of the motor neuron, in the case of spinal cord involvement e.g.: lumbar – cervical-dorsal myelopathy or in degenerative motor neuron diseases such as ALS, SMA, or infectious and post-infectious such as in poliomyelitis.
- of the roots, in the case of a herniated disc (cervical-thoraic-lumbar-sacral), narrow channel, primary or secondary level tumours at the root level, trauma with or without fractures, infectious or post-infectious radiculopathy such as Gullaim Barrè, dorsal tabes, cytomegalovirus, herpes zooster, Iyme disease, etc.
- of the brachial plexus (e.g. of the thoracic ostium, tumour of the pulmonary apex, post-surgical from the removal of the axillary lymph nodes, post-traumatic, from radiation, etc.)
- of the lumbar and sacral plexus from infiltration or due to tumour compression, post-traumatic, post-surgical, etc.
- of the nerve: in mononeuropathy such as entrapment syndrome e.g.: of the facial, trigeminal, hypoglossal, accessory, ulnar, radial, peroneal, lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (meralgia paresthetic) and most frequently that of the median nerve such as in carpal tunnel syndrome or in traumatic form, post-surgical, toxic, metabolic, post-infectious.
- of multiple nerves such as in neuropathy in vasculitis neuropathy and polyneuropathy: metabolic such as in diabetes, alcohol toxicity or from drugs (chemotherapy), from a vitamin B12 deficiency, infectious, post-infectious, inflammatory (rheumatic) , disimmune and hereditary, etc.
- At the level of the neuromuscular plate: myasthenia gravis, myasthenic syndrome, etc.
- At the muscle level: inflammatory myopathy, myositis and polymyositis, muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy, etc.
An electromyographic exam is risk-free and considered “mildly annoying”, but well tolerated even by emotional patients.
At the care of Dr. Ziad Fayoumi