Voice & Swallowing Disorders
Laryngeal Electromyography (EMG) Test at Wake Forest Baptist in North Carolina
larynx (voice box) has many pairs of small muscles that control its movements. There
are four muscles that are easily accessible and are innervated by (connected
to) four nerves that control the function of our larynges. Many of the voice and swallowing conditions that
we treat at Wake Forest Baptist have a subtle or profound injury to one or more
of these nerves as their cause. In order to further understand the nature of
the nerve injury (and therefore its prognosis), we often use an extremely fine
needle to test the strength of one or several muscles in order to understand
the health or disease of these four nerves, a laryngeal electromyography.
electromyography is a test that is performed in conjunction with a neurologist. When performing this
test, the patient usually lies flat with his or her neck extended. The skin
overlying the Adam's apple is sterilized with an alcohol-soaked gauze, and a
fine needle is inserted into these muscles.
The patient typically wears a grounding electrode similar to those you
might have seen for a painless heart rhythm test, and these, in turn, are
connected to a computer. While performing
a laryngeal electromyography examination, we may ask you to sniff or phonate with a long gentle
"eeeee." This causes an activation of the muscles that we are
interested in and helps assist in the diagnosis.