Free Back Surgery Guide!
To understand what your options are for spine surgery, download our article
"The Patients Guide to Spinal Fusions, Decompressions and Failed Spine Surgery"
Fill out the form now for a head start.
Spinal Cord Monitoring
There is a standard fee billed to your insurance company for the technologist’s and supervising electrodiagnostic physician’s services. These services are separate from your hospital’s and surgeon’s fees.
An electroneurodiagnostics technologist has significant health-care experience. Most of technologists also are registered nurses. This level training improves our ability to communicate effectively with patients and surgeons. Additionally, all technologists at are board-eligible or board-certified in neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring, which is a highly specialized national credentialing standard. All technologists are supervised by a physician who is board-certified in electrodiagnostic medicine.
The technologist will talk to your surgeon before surgery to verify your surgery and type of monitoring to use. The technologist will meet you before surgery to apply the necessary monitoring equipment. After this, the surgery will proceed as usual while the technologist remains in the operating room to respond to the monitoring results. The findings are always reported to the surgeon and the supervising electrodiagnostic physician. The technologist does not perform any part of surgery, and he or she will not interfere with your procedure.
Your surgeon recognizes the advantage of electroneurodiagnostics testing and monitoring as safeguard during surgery besides his or her technical and surgical skills. Spinal-cord monitoring is your surgeon’s conscientious attempts to provide sophisticated technology to maximize your procedure’s outcome.
- 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.
Spinal-cord monitoring is a field of electroneurodiagnostics devoted to the recording and study of the electric activity of the brain and nervous system during surgery. Technologists use a variety of techniques and instruments to record electric activity arising from the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. These recordings are reported to the surgeon and supervising electrodiagnostic physician.
Spinal-cord monitoring involves putting sensors on the patient to monitor changes in electric signals. It can spot changes in brain, spinal-cord and peripheral-nerve function before there is any irreversible damage. Monitoring of nerves can guide the surgeon through dissection and alert him or her of a stimulated nerve. It can show nerve stress or damage and pinpoint the location of the irritation.