How does it work?
A series of electrodes, both surface and subdermal, are attached to the body. Each patient may have different electrodes and arrangements based upon the individual’s surgery and condition. Nerve pathways are monitored by sending electrical impulses between stimulating and receiving electrodes and measuring the speed and intensity of the signals. If signal responses differ from established standards, the surgeon can quickly identify the problem (such as compressed or stretched nerve). If needed, a correction can be made before damage becomes permanent.
There are three types of intraoperative monitory. The neurotechnologist uses the MEP (Motor Evoked Potentials) technique to monitor signals traveling from the brain to certain muscle groups. The SSEP/DEPS (Somatosensory Evoked Potentials/Dermatome Evoked Potentials) technique is used to monitor signals traveling from specific sensory areas to the brain. Finally, the EMG (Electromyography) is used to monitor signals within specific muscle groups during surgeries to parts of the spine that those muscles serve.