Monitoring of somatosensory evoked potentials during surgery for middle cerebral artery aneurysms

Neurosurgery. 1991 Jul;29(1):83-8. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199107000-00014.


Somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) were monitored during 53 procedures for aneurysms of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). "Significant" changes were reported to the surgeon, who took corrective action when possible. Changes in the SEPs were categorized as follows: Type I, no change; Type II, significant change with complete return to baseline; Type III, significant change with incomplete return to baseline; Type IV, complete loss with no return; and Type V, no response at baseline. Only 1 of 37 patients with a Type I SEP had a new neurological deficit, and this was a patient who could not be examined for several days after surgery because he was in a pentobarbital coma. All 4 patients with Type III and IV changes had new postoperative neurological deficits. Perhaps of greater importance, 4 of 5 patients with Type II changes had no new deficit. These patients all had changes in SEPs that were completely reversible by clip adjustment (2), prompt removal of temporary clips (1), and inducing hypertension after aneurysm trapping (1). These cases may, therefore, represent instances in which SEP monitoring allowed the clinicians to prevent a neurological deficit. The MCA supplies the area of the somatosensory cortex that controls the hand. Median nerve SEPs are, therefore, a theoretically ideal monitor during surgery for MCA aneurysms. This study suggests that the results of MCA aneurysm surgery may be accurately predicted and improved with SEP monitoring.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebral Arteries*
  • Child
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / physiopathology*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies