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Zhonghua Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2010 Jul 15;48(14):1092-6.

[The utility of transcranial magnetic motor evoked potential monitoring during spinal surgery].

[Article in Chinese]

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Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Hospital, Beijing 100730, China.



To evaluate the practicability and validity of transcranial magnetic motor evoked potential monitoring (TMS-MEP) during spinal surgery.


From February 2001 to June 2004, 37 patients undergoing spinal surgery were involved, anaesthesia was maintained with volatile anesthetics in 11 operations and etomidate in 26. Analgesia was provided with fentanyl, and non-depolarizing muscle relaxant was given intermittently. MEPs elicited with transcranial magnetic stimulations were recorded from tibialis anterior muscles, simultaneously bispectral index (BIS) and train-of-four stimulation (TOF) were used to monitor the anesthesia depth and neuromuscular blockade respectively. The variety of MEP and its effect on surgical operation at different anesthesia depth and muscular relaxation were observed, and the muscle strength of the patients before and after operation were compared.


The 11 cases anesthetized with isoflurane or enflurane gave no response to TMS, the other 26 cases in which anaesthesia was maintained with etomidate and fentanyl gave satisfactory TMS-MEPs, but with significantly attenuated amplitudes and prolonged latencies (P < 0.05). Intraoperative MEP showed a grossly unchanged waveform, and its amplitude and latency had little fluctuation when anaesthesia and neuromuscular blockade maintained stable. When T(1) value of TOF at 40% - 60%, a steady MEP could be acquired and the muscular contraction after TMS should not interfere the operation.Seven of 26 cases had a MEP amplitude drop up to 50% or more during the operation, the surgical team was notified to avoid further spinal injury, at last only 1 case had a worsen muscle power after operation.


Myogenic TMS-MEP is a valid and practicable technique for intraoperative monitoring, and the etomidate + fentanyl technique is adequate for its anesthesia. BIS and TOF monitoring are helpful to maintain the steadiness of the anesthesia and MEPs, which is very important for monitoring the changes of the MEPs.

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