Intraoperative Neuromonitoring

Intraoperative neuromonitoring provides continuous evaluation of a patient’s nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, during surgery, which greatly increases the safety of many surgical procedures.

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Answers to Your Intraoperative Neuromonitoring Questions

Intraoperative neuromonitoring, also called intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, provides continuous evaluation of a patient’s nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves, during surgery to help detect correctable changes in function before irreversible brain damage occurs.

Intraoperative neuromonitoring involves placing small electrodes on a patient’s skin or muscles during a surgical procedure. During the surgery, these electrodes transmit information to a device, which the surgical team uses to monitor the activity of the nerves. 

Surgical teams use different types of monitoring, depending on the procedure. For example, electromyography (EMG) is used to monitor the response of a muscle to electrical stimulation (nerve firing), and electrocorticography is to used record the electrical activity in the brain.

Intraoperative neuromonitoring helps to improve the safety of surgical procedures by alerting the surgical team to changes in the patient’s nerves before permanent injury occurs. This allows the surgeon to make decisions during surgery that best optimize the outcome for the patient.

Intraoperative monitoring allows for safer interventions in surgical areas where nerve function is possibly compromised by the disease, such as brain tumors near the motor cortex of the brain, or where the surgical procedure could risk causing pressure or injury to nerves, such as in patients with nerve compression undergoing spine surgery.

Patients undergoing brain or spine surgery where there is concern for nearby delicate structures, such as the motor cortex of the brain, which could be affected by the surgical procedure.

Intraoperative neuromonitoring can be used for vascular surgeries, spinal surgeries, peripheral nerve surgeries, brain tumors, brain aneurysms, carotid endarterectomies and brain stimulation procedures for Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor.

No, intraoperative neuromonitoring does not hurt the patient. The surgical team places the electrodes after patients are asleep in the surgical room so they do not feel them.

Intraoperative neuromonitoring stimulates the nerves so there is a very small risk of seizure. However, since we are monitoring the brain throughout the surgery, if a seizure does occur, we are able to provide treatment quickly.

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Neurosurgeons at UC Health have an acute understanding of intraoperative neuromonitoring, which enables them to make the best decisions possible for patients undergoing surgery.

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Intraoperative neuromonitoring assesses nerve and brain function in real time and helps our surgical teams achieve the best possible outcome for the patient.

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UC Health is a recognized leader in research, including studies of innovative tools and techniques to help patients diagnosed with some of the most complex and rare tumors of the brain.

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