Guidelines for the performance of fusion procedures for degenerative disease of the lumbar spine. Part 15: electrophysiological monitoring and lumbar fusion.

Academic Article


  • Based on the medical evidence provided by the literature reviewed, there does not appear to be support for the hypothesis that any form of intraoperative monitoring improves patient outcomes following lumbar decompression or fusion procedures for degenerative spinal disease. Evidence does indicate that a normal evoked EMG response is predictive for intrapedicular screw placement (high NPV for breakout). The presence of an abnormal EMG response does not, however, exclude intrapedicular screw placement (low PPV). The majority of clinically apparent postoperative nerve injuries are associated with intraoperative changes in SSEP and/or DSEP monitoring. For this reason, changes in DSEP/SSEP monitoring appear to be sensitive to nerve root injury. There is a high-false positive rate, however, and changes in DSEP and SSEP recordings are frequently not related to nerve injury. A normal study has been shown to correlate with the lack of a significant postoperative nerve injury. There is no substantial evidence to indicate that the use of intraoperative monitoring of any kind provides useful information to the surgeon in terms of assessing the adequacy of nerve root decompression at the time of surgery.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Resnick DK; Choudhri TF; Dailey AT; Groff MW; Khoo L; Matz PG; Mummaneni P; Watters WC; Wang J; Walters BC
  • Start Page

  • 725
  • End Page

  • 732
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • 6