Diagnostic Utility of Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring for Intramedullary Spinal Cord Tumors: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Study Design:

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Objective:

The aim of this study was to systematically evaluate the diagnostic utility of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) for detecting postoperative injury in resection of intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCT).

Summary of Background Data:

Surgical management of IMSCT can involve key neurological and vascular structures. IONM aims to assess the functional integrity of susceptible elements in real time. The diagnostic value of IONM for ISMCT has not been systematically evaluated.

Methods:

We performed a systematic review of the PubMed and MEDLINE databases for studies investigating the use of IONM for IMSCT and conducted a meta-analysis of diagnostic capability.

Results:

Our search produced 257 citations. After application of exclusion criteria, 21 studies remained, 10 American Academy of Neurology grade III and 11 American Academy of Neurology grade IV. We found that a strong pooled mean sensitivity of 90% [95% confidence interval (CI), 84–94] and a weaker pooled mean specificity of 82% (95% CI, 70–90) for motor-evoked potential (MEP) recording changes. Somatosensory-evoked potential (SSEP) recording changes yielded pooled sensitivity of 85% (95% CI, 75–91) and pooled specificity of 72% (95% CI, 57–83). The pooled diagnostic odds ratio for MEP was 55.7 (95% CI, 26.3–119.1) and 14.3 (95% CI, 5.47–37.3) for SSEP. Bivariate analysis yielded summary receiver operative characteristic curves with area under the curve of 91.8% for MEPs and 86.3% for SSEPs.

Conclusions:

MEPs and SSEPs appear to be more sensitive than specific for detection of postoperative injury. Patients with perioperative neurological deficits are 56 times more likely to have had changes in MEPs during the procedure. We observed considerable variability in alarm criteria and interventions in response to IONM changes, indicating the need for prospective studies capable of defining standardized alarm criteria and responses.

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