Intraoperative monitoring of spinal cord function using motor evoked potentials via transcutaneous epidural electrode during anterior cervical spinal surgery

Ziya L. Gokaslan, Srinath Samudrala, Vedran Deletis, David M. Wildrick, Paul R. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Because false-positive results are not infrequent when monitoring somatosensory evoked potentials during surgery, monitoring of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) has been proposed and successfully used during the removal of spinal cord tumors. However, this often requires direct visual placement of an epidural electrode after a laminectomy. We evaluated the use of MEPs, recorded via a transcutaneously placed epidural electrode, to monitor motor pathway functional integrity during surgery on the anterior cervical spine. Sixteen patients underwent anterior cervical vertebral decompression and fusion for cervical myelopathy and/or radiculopathy. Before surgery, an epidural monitoring electrode was placed transcutaneously at the midthoracic level and was used to record MEPs after transcranial cortical electrical stimulation. Electrode placement was successful in all patients but one, and satisfactory baseline spinal MEPs were obtained except for one patient who had cerebral palsy with significant motor dysfunction. Patients showed no significant changes in spinal MEPs during surgery, and all had baseline or better motor function postoperatively. None had complications from epidural electrode placement or electrical stimulation. We conclude that motor pathways can be monitored safely during anterior cervical spinal surgery using spinal MEPs recorded via a transcutaneously placed epidural electrode, that MEP preservation during surgery correlates with good postoperative motor function, and that cerebral palsy patients may possess too few functional motor fibers to allow MEP recording.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-303
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of spinal disorders
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

Keywords

  • Cervical spine
  • Epidural electrode
  • Intraoperative monitoring
  • Motor evoked potentials
  • Transcranial cortical stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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