The Recognition, Incidence, and Management of Spinal Cord Monitoring Alerts in Early-onset Scoliosis Surgery

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The objective of the research was to study the relevance of intraoperative neuromonitoring throughout all stages of surgical management in patients with progressive early-onset scoliosis (EOS).


The routine monitoring of spinal cord potentials has gradually become standard of practice among spinal surgeons. However, there is not a consensus that the added expense of this technique necessitates monitoring in all stages of surgical management.


A retrospective review of 180 surgical cases of 30 patients with EOS from July 2003 to July 2012 was performed. All monitoring alerts as judged by the neuromonitoring team were identified. Both somatosensory-evoked potentials and transcranial electric motor-evoked potentials were studied and no limiting thresholds for reporting electrophysiological changes were deemed appropriate.


Of 150 monitored cases there were 18 (12%) monitoring alerts. This represented 40% of the patient cohort over the 9-year study period.


Index versus routine lengthening rate of alerts showed no significant difference in incidence of monitoring alerts. Conversely, several patients whose primary implantation surgeries were uneventful had monitoring alerts later in their treatment course. Intraoperative neuromonitoring is warranted throughout all stages of surgical management of EOS.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV. This study is a retrospective review of surgical cases of 30 patients with EOS.

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