Intraoperative motor evoked potential monitoring: overview and update

J Clin Monit Comput. 2006 Oct;20(5):347-77. doi: 10.1007/s10877-006-9033-0. Epub 2006 Jul 11.


Amidst controversy about methodology and safety, intraoperative neurophysiology has entered a new era of increasingly routine transcranial and direct electrical brain stimulation for motor evoked potential (MEP) monitoring. Based on literature review and illustrative clinical experience, this tutorial aims to present a balanced overview for experienced practitioners, surgeons and anesthesiologists as well as those new to the field. It details the physiologic basis, indications and methodology of current MEP monitoring techniques, evaluates their safety, explores interpretive controversies and outlines some applications and results, including aortic aneurysm, intramedullary spinal cord tumor, spinal deformity, posterior fossa tumor, intracranial aneurysm and peri-rolandic brain surgeries. The many advances in motor system assessment achieved in the last two decades undoubtedly improve monitoring efficacy without unduly compromising safety. Future studies and experience will likely clarify existing controversies and bring further advances.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrodes
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor*
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / adverse effects
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / methods*
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative / trends
  • Safety
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / adverse effects
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / methods
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / trends