Recording characteristics of monopolar EMG electrodes

S D Nandedkar, D B Sanders
Muscle & Nerve 1991, 14 (2): 108-12
Motor unit action potentials (MUAPs) and the electromyographic (EMG) interference pattern (IP) were recorded from the biceps muscle of 5 normal subjects using both a concentric needle (CN) and a disposable monopolar needle (MN) electrode. The MUAPs recorded by the MN electrode had higher amplitude and area and were more frequently complex than those recorded with the CN electrode. The MUAP duration and area: amplitude ratio were similar for both electrodes. Although the MN electrode had a larger recording surface, its dimensions (maximum diameter and length of the cone shaped tip) were similar to those of the CN electrode (minor and major axes of the elliptical recording tip). Based on these observations, we infer that the MN electrode may be more selective than the CN electrode, ie, the AP amplitude recorded by the MN electrode decreases faster than the AP amplitude recorded by a CN electrode when the distance of the muscle fiber from the recording electrode increases. Photomicrographs of the MN electrode after use demonstrated no evidence that the insulating material had peeled off. There was also no evidence that MUAP measurement values changed during the recordings as would be expected if the recording surface changed due to peeling of the insulating material.

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