Prospective multicenter observational study.
To evaluate transcranial motor-evoked potentials (Tc-MEPs) baseline characteristics of lower limb muscles and to determine the accuracy of Tc-MEPs monitoring based on preoperative motor status in surgery for high-risk spinal disease.
Summary of Background Data.
Neurological complications are potentially serious side effects in surgery for high-risk spine disease. Intraoperative spinal neuromonitoring (IONM) using Tc-MEPs waveforms can be used to identify neurologic deterioration, but cases with preoperative motor deficit tend to have poor waveform derivation.
IONM was performed using Tc-MEPs for 949 patients in high-risk spinal surgery. A total of 4454 muscles in the lower extremities were chosen for monitoring. The baseline Tc-MEPs was recorded immediately after exposure of the spine. The derivation rate was defined as muscles detected/muscles prepared for monitoring. A preoperative neurological grade was assigned using the manual muscle test (MMT) score.
The 949 patients (mean age 52.5 ± 23.3 yrs, 409 males [43%]) had cervical, thoracic, thoracolumbar, and lumbar lesions at rates of 32%, 40%, 26%, and 13%, respectively. Preoperative severe motor deficit (MMT ≤3) was present in 105 patients (11%), and thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) was the most common disease in these patients. There were 32 patients (3%) with no detectable waveform in any muscles, and these cases had mostly thoracic lesions. Baseline Tc-MEPs responses were obtained from 3653/4454 muscles (82%). Specificity was significantly lower in the severe motor deficit group. Distal muscles had a higher waveform derivation rate, and the abductor hallucis (AH) muscle had the highest derivation rate, including in cases with preoperative severe motor deficit.
In high-risk spinal surgery, Tc-MEPs collected with multi-channel monitoring had significantly lower specificity in cases with preoperative severe motor deficit. Distal muscles had a higher waveform derivation rate and the AH muscle had the highest rate, regardless of the severity of motor deficit preoperatively.
Level of Evidence: 3