Martin Sutter, Andreas Eggspuehler, Alfred Muller, Jiri Dvorak

October 2007, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 153 - 161 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-007-0417-8

First Online: 26 July 2007

To describe different currently available tests of multimodal intraoperative monitoring (MIOM) used in spine and spinal cord surgery indicating the technical parameters, application and interpretation as an easy understanding systematic overview to help implementation of MIOM and improve communication between neurophysiologists and spine surgeons. This article aims to give an overview and proposal of the different MIOM-techniques as used daily in spine and spinal cord surgery at our institution. Intensive research in neurophysiology over the past decades has lead to a profound understanding of the spinal cord, nerve functions and their intraoperative functional evaluation in anaesthetised patients. At present, spine surgeons and neurophysiologist are faced with 1,883 publications in PubMed on spinal cord monitoring. The value and the limitations of single monitoring methods are well documented. The diagnostic power of the multimodal approach in a larger study population in spine surgery, as measured with sensitivity and specificity, is dealt with elsewhere in this supplement (Sutter et al. in Eur Spine J Suppl, 2007). This paper aims to give a detailed description of the different modalities used in this study. Description of monitoring techniques of the descending and ascending spinal cord and nerve root pathways by motor evoked potentials of the spinal cord and muscles elicited after transcranial electrical motor cortex, spinal cord, cauda equina and nerve root stimulation, continuous EMG, sensory cortical and spinal evoked potentials, as well as direct spinal cord evoked potentials applied on 1,017 patients. The method of MIOM, continuously adapted according to the site, stage of surgery and potential danger to nerve tissues, proved to be applicable with online results, reliable and furthermore teachable.

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