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Study: Mechanomyography to be accurate in detecting nerves during minimally invasive spine surgery
Date:3/15/2010

An electronic device is an accurate technique for locating and avoiding nerves during spinal procedures, suggests a study by Henry Ford Hospital researchers.

The issue becomes important for patients as the demand for minimally invasive surgical techniques continues to grow, so does the need for effective methods for monitoring the location of nerves during surgery to avoid damage to them.

Mechanomyography (MMG) systems function by measuring the mechanical response of muscle following nerve stimulation, compared to traditional techniques that monitor the electrical response of muscle using electromyography (EMG). EMG systems are widely used as intraoperative tools to help surgeons avoid nerve injury. MMG has been widely used in laboratory settings to study things such as muscle fatigue, however up until now it has not been applied as an intraoperative tool for locating nerves.

"We felt there was a safer and faster way to intra-operatively monitor the location of nerves and we wanted to test this theory by directly comparing MMG to EMG," says Stephen Bartol, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon at Henry Ford Hospital. "We found MMG to be extremely effective for detecting the presence of nerves during minimally invasive surgical procedures when the nerves could not be directly visualized."

Dr. Bartol presented results from the study this week at the Tenth Annual Scientific Conference of the Canadian Spine Society in Alberta.

According to the National Institutes of Health, in a three-month period, about one-fourth of U.S. adults experience at least one day of back pain. It is one of the most common medical issues affecting Americans.

During minimally invasive spine surgery, a common treatment for chronic back pain, a small electrical signal is sometimes used to stimulate nerves and detect responses so that nerves are not damaged during surgery.

"Because conventional EMG systems monitor for subtle changes in
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Contact: Maria Seyrig
mseyrig1@hfhs.org
313-874-4039
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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