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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  Neurosurgeon - Brain, spine, and peripheral nerve surgery
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I just came from an orthapaidic surgeon (referred by my primary

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I just came from an orthapaidic surgeon (referred by my primary care) due to possible carpal tunnel. Symptoms: complete numbing of thumb and first two fingers (ring finger and pinkie finger are fine). Numbing does not come and go and has been permanent for about 5 weeks.

The doctor said I have some weakness in my hand and would like me to have an EMG (to rule out ulner nerve entrapment) which he said is "rather unpleasant". I did google EMG and it doesn't sound at all fun! My question is ... I feel like I need a 2nd opinion, that the immediate response was to begin invasively. I certainly expect to need surgery for carpal tunnel ... but I'm not sure this other test is needed. Your thoughts?
If the second test is to rule out ulnar neuropathy, at least, based on the pattern of numbness in your hand, ulnar neuropathy does not seem likely.

The actual test to look for this is not the "EMG", but the "nerve conduction study", which is essentially zapping your arm with short bursts of electricity to see how fast the nerve conducts the signal. If it is lower or slower than expected, then they can see an issue with the nerve. This is the test for carpal tunnel and ulnar neuropathy.

However, if you have significant weakness in particular muscles of the hand, then further diagnosis may be helpful to ensure that you do not have both of these conditions occurring at the same time. Perhaps unlikely, given your lack of pinky and ring finger numbness, but possible.

I have had the EMG and nerve conduction test done to myself and while a bit uncomfortable, I did not find it that bad. Certainly much easier than the discomfort from any surgical procedure.
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