Multimodality intraoperative neuromonitoring in extreme lateral interbody fusion: Transcranial electrical stimulation as indispensable rearview

Hanneke I. Berends*, Henricus L. Journée, Ilona Rácz, Jan van Loon, Roger Härtl, Maarten Spruit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: To optimize intraoperative neuromonitoring during extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) by adding transcranial electrical stimulation with motor evoked potential (TESMEP) to previously described monitoring using spontaneous EMG (sEMG) and peripheral stimulation (triggered EMG: tEMG). Methods: Twenty-three patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis had XLIF procedures and were monitored using sEMG, tEMG and TESMEP. Spontaneous and triggered muscle activity, and the MEP of 5 ipsilateral leg muscles, 2 contralateral leg muscles and 1 arm muscle were monitored. Results: During XLIF surgery decreased MEP amplitudes were measured in 9 patients and in 6 patients sEMG was documented. In 4 patients, both events were described. In 30 % of the cases (n = 7), the MEP amplitude decreased immediately after breaking of the table and even before skin incision. After reduction of the table break, the MEP amplitudes recovered to baseline. In two patients, the MEP amplitude deteriorated during distraction of the psoas with the retractor, while no events were reported using sEMG and tEMG. Repositioning of the retractor led to recovery of the MEP. Conclusions: Monitoring the complete nervous system during an XLIF procedure is found to be helpful since nerve roots, lumbar plexus as well as the intradural neural structures may be at risk. TESMEP has additional value to sEMG and tEMG during XLIF procedure: (1) it informed about otherwise unnoticed events, and (2) it confirmed and added information to events measured using sEMG.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1586
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1-May-2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Intraoperative neuromonitoring
  • Transcranial electrical stimulation
  • XLIF

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