How Much Does an EMG Test Cost?

Written by: Staff

An EMG test, short for electromyography, is a test performed to evaluate the electrical activity produced by the skeletal muscles.  This test can help identify whether or not a person has a neuromuscular disease or a motor control disorder such as carpal tunnel syndrome or muscular dystrophy.  A routine blood test or x-ray will not be able to identify most of these muscle diseases, and this test will be recommended if a patient is having trouble with his or her muscles and/or nerves.

How much does an EMG test cost?

On average, without any sort of insurance, plan on spending anywhere from $450 to $1,200 per extremity.  As a general rule, the more extremities that need to be tested, the higher the costs will be; however, the price can go down if extremities were bundled during one test.

If you have any insurance, this test will more than likely be covered as long it’sits deemed medically necessary.  If this were the case, you will be responsible for your co-pay, deductible, etc.  Most who are covered by insurance will pay about $10 to $375+ per extremity.

According to one forum member on, she was billed $1,425 for a wrist EMG test, with her being responsible for $600 of it after insurance kicked in.  Another member on the same forum thread said she was quoted $1,400 f0r her legs and arms.

Members on discussed this very question and said it had cost them about $900, but insurance paid for most of it.

EMG test overview

In some circumstances, your primary doctor may not be able to perform an EMG test and will refer you to a neurologist or physiatrist.

Most tests are going to take less than 90 minutes to complete per extremities. The nerve conduction part will take longer than the needle portion since the physician will need to take calculations and measurements.

During the test, you will be asked to lay down on a table, next to an EMG machine, and the EMG will evaluate the state of the nerves.  There are two parts of the EMG: the nerve conduction and needle study.  During the test, electrodes will be taped to the skin to help stimulate the nerve and record the response.  The needle exam will be inserted into the targeted muscles to pick up the electrical signals.

The physician who performs your test should be able to read the results for you; however, these results may not be ready right away, so you may have to go back to discuss your test results in the future during a follow-up appointment. Otherwise, the results can be sent to your family doctor.

 What are the extra costs?

If the results can’t be determined at the day of your appointment, then you will need to more than likely schedule a follow-up appointment with your primary doctor to discuss these results.  Even though the physician performing the test can have a general idea of the findings, the full results will contain the calculations and measurements performed after the test.  Therefore, to calculate these calculations and measurements, it can take up to 48 hours to complete, but in some extreme cases, while rare, could take longer.

Tips to know:

According to, there are very few preparations that need to be done on your part.  Unlike other laboratory tests, you won’t need to fast, and you will be able to drive yourself to and from the testing site, so you won’t need a friend or family member to help you.  With few exceptions, you can still continue to take medication unless ordered by your physician.  For example, if you were taking a blood thinner, then the lab would need to know about it before inserting a needle since it may cause bleeding within the muscle.

Does an EMG hurt?  Those who have had the test say there is some discomfort when the needle electrodes are inserted and will feel similar to that of a shot.  You may feel sore for a few days after.

EMG nerve test side effects, considered a very low-risk exam, may include sore muscles for a few days or bruising at the needle site.

How can I save money?

Before you consider this procedure, you should check with your insurance to ensure they will cover the costs related to the test.  Even if you know you’re going to be covered, it’s best to make sure you’re choosing a provider inside your insurance company’s network.  If the provider isn’t within the network, then you could pay much more.  If you do not have insurance, you may want to consider looking for a policy on the comparison website,

Just because your doctor suggests a specific physician or doctor does not mean that you have to go to that specific one.  Call a few clinics to see what they charge as most should be able to offer a ballpark figure over the phone.

If you don’t have insurance, most offices will offer cash paying customers an upfront discount if you were to pay in full.

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