Definition of Surface EMG

Surface EMG: A technique in which electrodes are placed on (not into) the skin overlying a muscle to detect the electrical activity of the muscle.

Surface EMG (SEMG) has some attractive features. Most notably, it does not involve piercing the skin and does not hurt. However, the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine notes that: "There is in fact almost no literature to support the use of SEMG in the clinical diagnosis and management of nerve or muscle disease." Still, the SEMG may prove of value in the future in helping to monitor the progression of disorders of nerves and muscles.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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