Neuromonitoring is an intraoperative diagnostic tool that allows surgeons to monitor the activity of individual or entire groups of nerves. These incredibly useful tools, such as electromyography (EMG) or electroencephalography (EEG) allow surgeons performing surgery to isolate neural structures more accurately and regularly assess nerve function and response.
Neuromonitoring also helps to define a baseline so that improvement in nerve function throughout the course of the procedure can be quantifiably tracked. It is an especially useful tool in procedures such as decompression, like those used for Chiari malformations. In this case, it allows the surgical team to know if they are effectively relieving pressure and restoring nerve function while the surgery is taking place.
Goal of Neuromonitoring
The ultimate goal of neuromonitoring is to help the surgeon make the most of the time in the operating room by providing invaluable data during the procedure being performed.
The restoration of nerve function — especially when a patient is under anesthesia — is nearly impossible to detect with anything other than specialized equipment to recognize and measure nerve impulses. Because of this, neuromonitoring is an integral tool in a neurosurgeon’s arsenal.
In the case of Chiari malformation, for instance, it allows the doctor to visualize progress and determine whether adequate decompression has been achieved or if they will need to consider further actions to achieve desired results.
How Neuromonitoring is Performed
Neuromonitoring utilizes different types of electrophysiologic tools, such as electromyography (EMG), electroencephalography (EEG), Brain Auditory Evoked Responses (BAERs), direct nerve stimulation, and cortical mapping. Depending on the procedure and its location, the doctor may choose to use one or more modalities.
During a neurosurgical procedure, a specially-trained neurophysiology team member will monitor and collect data on both spontaneous and triggered nerve impulses throughout the duration of the surgery, interpreting it for the surgeon. This information allows the surgical team to know if they are succeeding in resolving the problem before them, or if further work must be done.
Neuromonitoring is a relatively safe procedure that can help reduce the need for follow-up surgery, decrease surgical time, and greatly reduce the risk of neural damage.
Recovery From Neuromonitoring
There is no additional recovery time when neuromonitoring has been performed in conjunction with a surgical procedure. In reality, it may help lessen the time spent recovering from surgery, as it can help prevent intraoperative injuries.
Why Choose Neurosurgeons of New Jersey?
Neuromonitoring, when used correctly, can be a life-changing (and in some cases, a life-saving) addition to the neurosurgical operating suite’s array of monitoring techniques. Neurosurgeons of New Jersey takes our patients’ health and well-being seriously. This is why we use the most advanced neuromonitoring and make sure each person on the surgical team is comfortable and familiar with its use.
You can rest assured that each and every surgical team member that performs neuromonitoring has extensive training and a keen understanding of the importance of the task at hand. In addition, your surgeon will be able to use the data obtained from neuromonitoring to ensure that your surgery goes as smoothly as possible.
The team at Neurosurgeons of New Jersey believes our patients comes first. Open communication and transparency allow us to bring you the best experience in and out of the operating room. We’ll be with you each step of the way — from initial consultation and throughout your road to recovery.