Study design: A retrospective study of 38 pediatric patients with spinal cord pathology who underwent corrective spinal deformity surgery from January 1989 through June 1998.
Objectives: To report reliability and specificity in obtaining intraoperative data in this population. These data were compared with monitoring results obtained in a group of pediatric patients with idiopathic scoliosis.
Summary of background data: Reports in the literature suggest intraoperative monitoring for patients with spinal cord pathology may be of limited value. No optimal monitoring protocol has been suggested for this population.
Methods: The study group consisted of 38 pediatric patients with a diagnosis of spinal cord pathology who underwent corrective spinal deformity surgery from January 1989 through June 1998. All patients had lower extremity function. Somatosensory and neurogenic motor evoked potentials were used to monitor neurologic status during surgery. These data were compared with data obtained in 429 pediatric patients with idiopathic scoliosis. Study patients were divided into Group I, those who had had spinal cord surgery (n = 20), and Group II, those who had not (n = 18).
Results: Somatosensory evoked potentials were obtained in 93.2% and remained consistent with baselines in 87.2% of the study group patients. Neurogenic motor evoked potentials were obtained in 50.8% of the study subjects and remained consistent in 76.6% of those cases. The false-positive rate was 27.1% in the study group, compared with 1.4% in the group with idiopathic scoliosis. The study group had no true-positive or false-negative findings. Group I data differed from Group II data.
Conclusions: Intraoperative monitoring should be used in patients with spinal cord pathology who undergo surgery for spinal deformity. Monitoring should not miss a neurologic deficit but demonstrates greater variability, resulting in more frequent use of an intraoperative wake-up test.