Intraoperative spinal cord monitoring during the surgical correction of scoliosis due to cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders

Abstract

Patients with neuromuscular scoliosis are at increased risk of neurological deficit post-operatively, but are a difficult population on whom to perform neurophysiological monitoring. We look here at a 7-year sample of our practice in the monitoring of neuromuscular patients. A retrospective chart review was performed for 109 patients who underwent correction of neuromuscular scoliosis within our institution between 2005 and 2011. Of 109 patients who were identified, intraoperative monitoring was attempted in 66 cases. In eight cases (13 %), no reliable monitoring could be achieved and was therefore abandoned. On nine occasions, there was a significant drop in at least one modality intraoperatively. None of these nine suffered any clinically observable neurological deficit post-operatively. Of the 109 patients, 2 had clinically detectable deficits post-operatively, both of whom had undergone normal intraoperative monitoring. The two patients with observable deficit had their instrumentation left in situ after discussion with them and/or parents. Spinal cord monitoring in this population is possible but potentially unreliable. Surgeons will need to carefully consider the use of monitoring in their management of this challenging population.

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