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"The Patients Guide to Spinal Fusions, Decompressions and Failed Spine Surgery"

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What Procedures are Performed During Spinal Cord Monitoring?

  • Electroencephalogram – An electroencephalogram is a recording of the brain’s electric activity. It helps diagnose brain disorders and assures the surgeon that the brain is receiving enough oxygen during surgery on arteries.
  • Electromyography These studies evaluate electric potentials from spinal nerve roots and peripheral nerves. Technologists place electrodes over muscles in the arms or legs and then monitor muscle activity during surgery. This helps the surgeon make sure nerves are not damaged during some surgical procedures.
  • Evoked potential – An evoked potential is a recording of electric activity from the brain, spinal nerves and peripheral nerves that occurs because of external stimuli. Evoked-potential waveforms require sophisticated computer equipment to extract data that will allow physicians to determine the status of these pathways. This test is commonly performed by the technologist during spine surgery to help the surgeon make sure nerves are not damaged during the operation.
  • Nerve-conduction studies These studies evaluate electric potentials from peripheral nerves. Technologists or surgeons stimulate the nerve with an electric current, and record how long it takes the nerve impulse to reach the muscle.
  • Pedicle-screw testing – These studies help surgeons place hardware during some spine-fusion procedures. Surgeons place a probe over the pedicle screw to deliver a small electric current. This helps verify that no breach or crack in the bone occurred during screw placement.