Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring (IONM)
Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) is an important medical/technical service provided in the operating theatres. It has proven vital in complex spinal procedures. During operation, IONM:
- Identifies neural structures.
- Detects impending neurological damage
- Provides an early warning to the operating surgeon.
- Facilitates prevention of permanent damage to the nervous system.
Definition of IONM
Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) is a real-time assessment of neurological function involving the brain, spinal cord and related nerve structures. Complex, multi-modality IONM facilitates the surgical process and reduces surgical risk by enabling a Clinical technologist to alert the surgeon if and when spinal cord or neural structure compromise appears imminent.
While Nervesense specialises in using IONM for spine surgeries, we can also monitor other types of surgical procedures such as craniotomies, total hip replacement and vascular procedures.
Benefits of IONM
IONM helps facilitate successful surgeries by enhancing patient safety, improving outcomes and supporting surgeons and hospitals in providing patients with ideal care. Studies such as “Evaluation of Intraoperative Somatosensory-Evoked Potential Monitoring During 100 Cervical Operations” SPINE, Volume 18, Number 6, (1993) show that IONM has contributed to the reduction of neurological injury from 4% — 6.9% to 0% — 0.7% in scoliosis and cervical operations.
In another study conducted to assess the value of monitoring during pedicle screw placement, “Usefulness of Electrical Stimulation for Assessing Pedicle Screw Placements” Journal of Spinal Disorders, Vol. 13, No. 4, (2000) over 15 of the subjects had a positive EMG response, indicating a potential neurological deficit.
Surgical monitoring also benefits surgeons, hospitals and insurance companies (payers) by:
- Allowing surgeons to safely operate more aggressively.
- Enabling hospitals to reduce risks and costs, and better utilise operating room time.
- Lowering payer healthcare costs by reducing the number of second surgeries, therapies, scans, and prescriptions.
Most importantly, IONM helps patients experience a better quality of life through enhanced surgical outcomes.