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Intraoperative neuromonitoring

Intraoperative neuromonitoring

Intraoperative neuromonitoring

The high complexity of spinal deformity surgery requires the utilization of a special field called intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM). IONM is one of the safety measures utilized during surgery that monitors an individual’s nervous system. IONM allows the surgeon to know, during surgery, if/when nerve tissue is being injured or at risk for being injured. The problem can be corrected immediately. Many complications involving the nervous system, including paralysis, can be avoided with careful monitoring during surgery.

The Philadelphia Shriners Hospital developed its own IONM department established under the leadership of James Zuccaro, DABNM. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia is one of the few children’s hospitals in the country to have a program and the only Shriners Hospitals for Children location to have a hospital-based program. Our team consists of all board certified individuals possessing graduate level degrees. They have received national recognition as being experts in the field of pediatric neuromonitoring and have spoken at national conferences teaching others how to monitor spinal deformity surgery.

The vast majority of hospitals utilize a technologist in the operating room with offsite, remote professionals interpreting the data. Usually this remote professional is monitoring more than one case at a time and does not dedicate full 100 percent attention to one case. Unfortunately, there is a small window of opportunity to respond to changes in IONM data before they become irreversible and lead to neurologic consequence.

What makes the Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia IONM department unique is that all of the data is interpreted in the room as the surgical procedure is happening. This allows immediate feedback to the surgical team to allow for corrective actions if they need to be taken. It also allows surgeons to maximize the amount of correction they can achieve.

The Philadelphia Shriners Hospital IONM department is aiding the state-of-the-art services provided and helping to make surgery much safer.