The March/April 2000 issue presented an overview of electrodiagnostic evaluation—electromyography (EMG) nerve conduction studies (NCS), and somatosensory-evoked responses for the independent medical examiner. This issue contains suggestions for the nonelectromyographer who reads the electrodiagnostic report and identifies some questionable uses of electrodiagnosis. Because evaluation of radiculopathy and focal neuropathy (e.g., nerve entrapments) comprise the majority of an electromyographer's practice, this article's focus will be on these two diagnostic groups.


When assessing a patient for radiculopathy, does an electromyographer want to get an electromyogram, nerve conduction studies, or both? Needle electromyography is the principal electrophysiological modality in radiculopathy assessment. The most dramatic evidence of radiculopathy on EMG examination is the presence of positive sharp waves and fibrillation potentials, indicating denervation has occurred. An important caveat is that 1 to 2 weeks must pass before positive sharp waves and fibrillation...

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