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Utility of Electromyography for Nerve Root Monitoring During Spinal Surgery

Nichols, Grant S.; Manafov, Elmar

Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology: April 2012 - Volume 29 - Issue 2 - p 140–148
doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e31824cece6
Invited Review

Summary In addition to potential spinal cord injury, spinal surgery carries a risk of damage to spinal nerve roots, which could result in sensory or motor deficit. Both spontaneous and triggered electromyography (sEMG and tEMG, respectively) have been employed to reduce the risk of these deficits. This article reviews the theory and best practice of electromyographic monitoring for spinal surgery, the evidence supporting its use for various types of spine surgery, and finally, suggestions for future directions to improve knowledge and advance electromyographic monitoring of spinal nerves.

IntraNerve, LLC, Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Grant Nichols, PhD, 5390 N Academy Blvd #300, Colorado Springs, CO 80918; e-mail:

Copyright © 2012 American Clinical Neurophysiology Society