Eleven days ago I had an EMG done on my upper extremeties, testing for signs of carpal tunnel. When the exam was done, I noticed
a large lump on the inside of my right forearm where one of the needles was inserted. It remained swollen for a few hours and was sore to
the touch. It also ached whenever I flexed my hand at the wrist, feeling like a bruised muscle. The next day I noticed that an oval shaped
area of redness about four inches long and two inches wide had formed around the tender area. Today the area, while not quite as sore, is
still tender and discolored - black and blue and yellowish. It doesn't hurt as much when I move it, but applying pressure causes a dull ache
that lingers for about five minutes and extends to my wrist.
Is bruising like this common with EMGs? I have had three of them done and this is the first time I've experienced this. Also, could
there be an underlying condition that would make it more likely for this to occur? I have other symptoms beside the hand soreness, like
loss of muscle mass in my entire body and some weight loss that make me think that something else is going on. And even though I have
some carpal tunnel-like symptoms (loss of feeling, aching hands and wrists) the three tests have all shown minimal signs of CT. ANy thoughts?
An EMG needle can go through a small blood vessel in the skin, which causes a small blood collection (or hematoma) underneath. THere is no way of predicting if this will happen or not, fortunately it does not happen that often. Usually the vein heals itself quickly but the blood takes a while to resorb, and is sort of toxic to the surrounding tissue - hence the pain. It should resolve over time like a big bruise.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed by nerve conduction studies (the electric shock tests) and not the needle EMG. Carpal tunnel is common but it does not cause weight loss, so your doctors should look carefully into this.
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