Nerve conduction study (NCS) and electromyography (EMG) appointments


How to get an appointment

You can ask your hospital doctor to refer you.

Changing or cancelling your appointment

Phone: 020 7188 3954

Before your appointment

Please do:

  • eat and drink as normal
  • take your usual medicines
  • wear loose clothing
  • wash off any moisturisers and body lotions, including fake tan, from your hands, arms and legs

Pacemakers and implanted devices

Please let us know before your appointment if you have: 

  • a cardiac pacemaker
  • an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • any other implanted device for which you have had batteries inserted under your skin

Please bring any information you have about your pacemaker or other device.


Please let us know if you take any of the following medicines.

Please bring any alert cards you have.

If you take warfarin, please bring your INR booklet with test dates and results, if possible.

Please bring a list of anti-platelet medicines you take and the doses. This can include:

  • aspirin
  • clopidogrel
  • prasugrel
  • ticagrelor

Please let us know before the test if you've recently had botox injections for any reason.

During your appointment

You'll see a clinical physiologist and/or a neurophysiologist (consultant or registrar).

As part of your tests we can also carry out an ultrasound.

The tests usually take between 30 and 90 minutes. 

You may feel slightly uncomfortable during the tests. 

You can return home or to work after the tests. 

We're a teaching hospital. Sometimes students or other health professionals will be at your appointment to learn. We'll ask you if you're happy for them to be at your appointment. It will not affect your care if you prefer not to have them there.

We use small electrical currents to stimulate your nerves. We attach pads to your arms or legs, or both. The pads connect to the EMG computer. We record and analyse your nerve responses to see how your nerves are working. 

We put a small needle electrode into your muscles. This detects the electrical signals that your muscles produce. Your muscle activity displays on a computer. This test looks for signs of a disorder of your muscles, or their nerve supply.

We decide how many of your muscles we need to examine, depending on your symptoms and what we find as the test is done. 

After the test, your muscles may ache a little for the next day or so. 

After your appointment

We'll send the results of your test to the person who referred you.

This usually takes 1 to 2 weeks. 

Please contact us if you have any problems.

Last updated: September 2023

Contact us

For more information, please contact us.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Is this page useful?