Intraoperative Monitoring (IOM) of the Nerves

Overview
This technique is used during complex surgical
procedures, especially those that involve
manipulation of the spinal cord. IOM allows a
neurotechnologist to monitor the health of the
nervous system in real time during surgery. This
greatly reduces the risk of surgery-related nerve
damage.


The Electrode Array
A series of electrodes, both surface and subdermal,
are attached to the body. Each patient may have
different electrodes and arrangements based upon
the individual's surgery and condition.


Monitoring Pathways
Nerve pathways are monitored by sending electrical
impulses between stimulating and receiving
electrodes and measuring the speed and intensity
of the signals.


Identifying the Problem
If signal responses differ from established
standards, the surgeon can quickly identify the
problem (such as a compressed or stretched
nerve). If needed, a correction can be made before
damage becomes permanent.


MEP Technique
The neurotechnologist uses the MEP technique to
monitor signals traveling from the brain to certain
muscle groups.


SSEP and DEP Techniques
The neurotechnologist uses the SSEP and DEP
techniques to monitor signals traveling from specific
sensory areas to the brain.


EMG Technique
The neurotechnologist uses the EMG technique to
monitor signals within specific muscle groups
during surgeries to parts of the spine that serve
those muscles.

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