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Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache
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J Orofac Pain 10 (1996), No. 1     1. Dec. 1996
J Orofac Pain 10 (1996), No. 1  (01.12.1996)

Page 38-47


Is quantitative electromyography reliable?
Cecere / Ruf / Pancherz
The reliability of quantitative electromyography (EMG) of the masticatory muscles was investigated in 14 subjects without any signs or symptoms of temporomandibular disorders. Integrated EMG activity from the anterior temporalis and masseter muscles was recorded bilaterally by means of bipolar surface electrodes during chewing and biting activities. In the first experiment, the influence electrode relocation was investigated. No influence of electrode relocation on the recorded EMG signal could be detected. In a second experiment, three sessions of EMG recordings during five different chewing and biting activities were performed in the mroning (I); 1 hour later without intermediate removal of the electrodes (II); and in the afternoon, using new electrodes (III). The method errors for different time intervals (I-II and I-III errors) for each muscle and each function were calculated. Depending on the time interval between the EMG recordings, the muscles considered, and the function performed, the individual errors ranged from 5% to 63%. The method error increased significantly (P<.05 to P<.01) with the time interval between recordings. The error for the masseter (mean 27.2%) was higher than for the temporalis (mean 20.0%). The largest function error was found during maximal biting in intercuspal position (mean 23.1%). Based on the findings, quantitative electromyography of the masticatory muscles seems to have a limited value in diagnostics and in the evaluation of individual treatment results.