This study is a meta-analysis of prospective and retrospective studies identified in PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase with outcomes of patients who received intraoperative somatosensory-evoked potential (SSEP) monitoring during lumbar spine surgery.
The objective of this study is to determine the diagnostic accuracy of intraoperative lower extremity SSEP changes for predicting postoperative neurological deficit. As a secondary analysis, we evaluated three subtypes of intraoperative SSEP changes: reversible, irreversible, and total signal loss.
Summary of Background Data.
Lumbar decompression and fusion surgery can treat lumbar spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis but carry a risk for nerve root injury. Published neurophysiological monitoring guidelines provide no conclusive evidence for the clinical utility of intraoperative SSEP monitoring during lumbar spine surgery.
A systematic review was conducted to identify studies with outcomes of patients who underwent lumbar spine surgeries with intraoperative SSEP monitoring. The sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) were calculated and presented with forest plots and a summary receiver operating characteristic curve.
The study cohort consisted of 5607 patients. All significant intraoperative SSEP changes had a sensitivity of 44% and specificity of 97% with a DOR of 22.13 (95% CI, 11.30–43.34). Reversible and irreversible SSEP changes had sensitivities of 28% and 33% and specificities of 97% and 97%, respectively. The DORs for reversible and irreversible SSEP changes were 13.93 (95% CI, 4.60–40.44) and 57.84 (95% CI, 15.95–209.84), respectively. Total loss of SSEPs had a sensitivity of 9% and specificity of 99% with a DOR of 23.91 (95% CI, 7.18–79.65).
SSEP changes during lumbar spine surgery are highly specific but moderately sensitive for new postoperative neurological deficits. Patients who had postoperative neurological deficit were 22 times more likely to have exhibited intraoperative SSEP changes.
Level of Evidence: 2