Intraoperative Neuromonitoring is a new concept in the area of spinal surgery that involves having a neurophysiologist present during the surgery to ensure that surgeon is avoiding any possible nerve damage during the procedure. Having the neurophysiologist provide monitoring is another step in the process of providing optimal patient safety, as it allows for another pair of eyes to safeguard the nervous system, thereby freeing the surgeon to concentrate on what he or she does best.
Intraoperative neuromonitoring is a technique designed to decrease the risk of neurological injury during surgery. This procedure, developed over the last twenty years, uses electrical potential recordings taken during surgery to evaluate neurological function. The recordings provide the opportunity to find an injury before it becomes so serious that it causes significant impairment of function after the surgery.
The goal of intraoperative neural monitoring is to detect changes in the brain, peripheral nerve, and spinal cord functioning before irreversible damage takes place. A variety of electrophysiological modalities is available, with the ones designated for use dependent on the specific nerve structures at the site of surgery.
A neurophysiologist monitors the recordings and is responsible for interpreting the results of the recordings and providing that information to the surgeon and anesthesiologist. They both then use this information for guidance during the procedure.
Intraoperative neuromonitoring is an effective tool that has demonstrated the ability to reduce the incidence of hearing loss, paralysis, and impairment of other necessary bodily functioning. The presence of an additional specialist in the operating room may add extra expense to the procedure but is advantageous in helping to eliminate the potential for unforeseen complications.
Intraoperative neuromonitoring has already shown effectiveness in decreasing mortality rates without increasing risks. Individuals who undergo spinal surgery benefit from this added feature by having an additional protective safety measure in place.
If you are suffering from unresolved spine problems and would like to talk with one of our physicians about treatment options, please contact our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.