-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The spinal cord should be
monitored during spinal surgery and certain chest surgeries -- such
as procedures to repair narrowing of the walls of the aorta -- to
help prevent paralysis or loss of muscle function, says an updated
guideline from the American Academy of Neurology.
Continuous assessment of the spinal cord during surgery
(intraoperative monitoring) can alert surgeons in time to find and
correct problems before spinal cord damage occurs.
Monitoring detects small changes in nerve-signal transmission
throughout the surgery.
"Paraparesis [partial paralysis of the legs], paraplegia and quadriplegia are potential serious complications of surgeries where the spinal cord is at risk," guideline lead author Dr. Marc Nuwer, of the University of California, Los Angeles, said in an academy news release.
"Monitoring can help prevent damage by identifying problems early enough to allow for interventions. If intraoperative monitoring raises warnings, surgeons and anesthesiologists can modify the surgery to reduce the risk of these complications," he noted.
The guidelines appear in the Feb. 21 issue of the
Neurology and also in the
Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology.
"The best way to treat paralysis is to prevent it in the first place. Spinal cord monitoring supervised by a neurologist can help meet this goal," Nuwer said.
The North American Spine Society has more about
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