Compared to MRI, EMG/NCS is the “gold standard” test for radiculopathies and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is just that – an image. The crucial limitation of MRI in evaluating peripheral nerve injury is its inability to provide more than a visual image of anatomical structures and, thus, cannot evaluate nerve function.
That’s why several studies have shown MRI to be a poor predictor of the cause of a patient’s symptoms.
EMG and NCS evaluate both the structure and function of the nerve. The data is also captured and evaluated in real time.
But where EMG and NCS earns its “gold standard” reputation is in its sensitivity abilities when testing for two of the most common nerve injuries: radiculopathies and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- MRI has a sensitivity of only 26.7% to painful annular tears
- EMG has a sensitivity of 70% to radiculopathies
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
- MRI has a sensitivity of 33-96% and 33-38% specificity for determining Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- NCS has a sensitivity of 92% and 90% specificity for determining Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When is it more appropriate to use EMG and NCS versus MRI?
- When muscle disease is suspected
- Idiopathic numbness, tingling, weakness or muscle atrophy is present
- Suspected neuropathy of the upper or lower extremities
- Neck or back pain with radiating pain is best evaluated using both EMG/NCS and MRI to complement each other
Compared to other providers, NCED Associates are “golden”
- We are highly trained professionals, not technicians
- Like physicians, we perform both NCS and needle EMG
- We adjust, fine-tune and calibrate
- We’re involved, translate and interpret
- We offer insights, evaluation and clarity
- We engage patients, assure their comfort