Multi-modality neurophysiological monitoring during surgery for adult tethered cord syndrome.J Clin Neurosci. 2005 Nov; 12(8):934-6.JC
During complex microneurosurgery performed in patients with tethered cord syndrome, the conus medullaris and the roots that innervate the lower limbs, bladder and bowel are potentially exposed to damage. The aim of multimodality intraoperative monitoring (IOM) is to reduce the risk of inadvertent injury of neural tissue. We simultaneously record tibial nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) from the scalp and free run electromyography (EMG) of limb muscles supplied by L2 to S2 roots, anal and urethral sphincters. We also identify critical neural structures in the operative field, including the conus and exiting nerve roots, with a nerve stimulator to evoke EMG. SSEPs assess the sensory pathways mainly mediated by the S1 roots. Continuous EMG provides the surgeon with immediate auditory feedback resulting from irritative discharges triggered by manipulation of nerve fibres. Microstimulation can distinguish the filum terminale, scar tissue and invasive tumors from functional neural tissue, thus minimizing the risk of iatrogenic injury. Overall multimodality IOM proves a valuable adjunct to microneurosurgery of the lumbosacral spine.