IOM is used during complex surgical procedures, especially those that involve manipulation of the spinal cord. It 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.
A series of electrodes, both surface and sub dermal, are attached to the body. Nerve pathways are monitored by sending electrical impulses between stimulating and receiving electrodes and measuring the speed and intensity of the signals. If signal responses differ from established standards, the surgeon can quickly identify and correct the problem (such as a compressed or stretched nerve).
Different types of IOM are used to monitor signals traveling from the brain to muscle groups (MEP), from sensory areas to the brain (SSEP and DEP), and between muscle groups and the spine (EMG).
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