EMG studies are sometimes thought to be the gold standard to diagnose nerve injuries. But as Dr. Tollestrup explains, EMG studies are notoriously flawed because the people doing the EMG study lack a fundamental understanding of peripheral nerve anatomy.
Transcript: The problem with EMG and nerve conduction studies is that they are notoriously inaccurate or unreliable at identifying peripheral nerve problems. Part of the problem is that often these tests are administered by techs. Sometimes the neurologist themselves will do it, but very often it’s a tech person in the office that does it.
And in either case, either the tech or the neurologist, they don’t understand peripheral nerve anatomy well enough to often even test for certain things. So they’re not even looking for some of the locations where nerves can be compressed, et cetera.
And because of that general, I guess the best word to use is just ignorance about peripheral nerve anatomy, a lot of times what they’re testing is just flawed in terms of looking for an exact problem. So the bottom line is EMG nerve conduction studies, especially in the lower extremities are really useless for figuring out these complex peripheral nerve problems.