Multimodality intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring findings during surgery for adult tethered cord syndrome: analysis of a series of 44 patients with long-term follow-up.Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Aug 15; 31(18):2095-102.S
Prospective analysis of a consecutive series in which multimodality intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring was used as an adjunct to microneurosurgery for adult tethered cord syndrome. The results of multimodality intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring were compared with the "gold standard" (neurologic outcomes).
To assess the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of multimodality intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring in surgery for adult tethered cord syndrome.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA
Although intraoperative electrophysiologic techniques may help to minimize neural injury during spinal microneurosurgery, to our knowledge, no study has quantitatively evaluated the value of multimodality intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring in the management of adult tethered cord syndrome.
Multimodality intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring included posterior tibial nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs), continuous electromyographic (EMG) monitoring of the L2 to S4 myotomes, and evoked EMG. Follow-up neurologic evaluations were performed for at least 1 year.
A total of 44 consecutive patients, including 19 males and 25 females (aged 43 +/- 15 years), who underwent microsurgery for adult tethered cord syndrome were evaluated. After surgery, new neurologic deficits, including 1 transient and 1 permanent, developed in 2 patients. There was 1 patient who had persistent posterior tibial nerve SSEP amplitude reduction following microsurgical manipulation. In 1 patient, a transient posterior tibial nerve SSEP amplitude reduction prompted a change in microneurosurgical strategy. This patient awoke with no new postoperative neurologic deficits. For SSEPs, the sensitivity was 50% and specificity 100%. EMG bursts were recorded in 36 patients (82%). The 2 patients with postoperative neurologic worsening had EMG activity in the myotomes, where their new deficits presented. Continuous EMG had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 19%.
To our knowledge, this is the largest series to date reporting the use of multimodality intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring in the surgical management of adult tethered cord syndrome. Posterior tibial nerve SSEPs have high specificity, but low sensitivity, for predicting new neurologic deficits. In contrast, continuous EMG showed high sensitivity and low specificity. Evoked EMG accurately identified functional neural tissue. The combined recording of SSEPs in concert with continuous and evoked EMGs may provide a useful adjunct to complex microsurgery for adult tethered cord syndrome.