Tetsuya Tamaki, Seiji Kubota

October 2007, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 140 - 146 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-007-0416-9

First Online: 01 August 2007

In the early 1970s, spinal instrumentation and aggressive surgical technology came into wide use for the treatment of severe spinal deformities. This background led to the development of intraoperative spinal cord monitoring by orthopaedic spine surgeons themselves. The author's group (T.T.) and Kurokawa's group invented a technology in 1972 to utilize the spinal cord evoked potential (SCEP) after direct stimulation of the spinal cord. In the United States, Nash and his group started to use SEPs. Following these developments, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital group of Stanmore, UK employed spinal somatosensory evoked potential in 1983. However, all of these methods were used to monitor sensory mediated tracts in the spinal cord. The only way to monitor motor function was the Wake up test developed by Vauzelle and Stagnara. In 1980, Merton and Morton reported a technology to stimulate the brain transcranially and opened the doors for motor tract monitoring. Presently, in the operating theatre, monitoring of motor-related functions is routinely performed. We have to remember that multidisciplinary support owing to the development of hardware and, software and the evolution of anesthesiology has made this possible. Furthermore, no single method can sufficiently cover the complex functions of the spinal cord. Multimodality combinations of the available technologies are considered necessary for practical and effective intra-operative monitoring (IOM). In this article, the most notable historic events and articles that are regarded as milestones in the development of IOM are reviewed.

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