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Keywords:

  • needle electromyography;
  • nerve conduction study;
  • peripheral nervous system;
  • auditory pattern recognition;
  • waveforms

Abstract

Physiologic assessment of diseases of the motor unit from the anterior horn cells to the muscles relies on a combination of needle electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS). Both require a unique combination of knowledge of peripheral nervous system anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, diseases, techniques, and electricity is necessary. Successful, high-quality, reproducible EMG depends on the skills of a clinician in patient interaction during the physical insertion and movement of the needle while recording the electrical signals. These must be combined with the skill of analyzing electric signals recorded from muscle by auditory pattern recognition and semiquantitation.10, 52 This monograph reviews the techniques of needle EMG and waveform analysis and describes the types of EMG waveforms recorded during needle EMG. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Muscle Nerve 39: 244–270, 2009