Neurologic Complications in Monitored versus Unmonitored Image-Guidance Assisted Posterior Lumbar Instrumentation

Gordon Mao, Shahed Elhamdani, Michael J. Gigliotti, Zachary Mace, Robert Sclabassi, Michael Oh, Donald Whiting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring (IOM) has been used clinically since the 1970s and is a reliable tool for detecting impending neurologic compromise. However, there are mixed data as to whether long-term neurologic outcomes are improved with its use. We investigated whether IOM used in conjunction with image guidance produces different patient outcomes than with image guidance alone. Methods: We reviewed 163 consecutive cases between January 2015 and December 2018 and compared patients undergoing posterior lumbar instrumentation with image guidance using and not using multimodal IOM. Monitored and unmonitored surgeries were performed by the same surgeons, ruling out variability in intersurgeon technique. Surgical and neurologic complication rates were compared between these 2 cohorts. Results: A total of 163 patients were selected (110 in the nonmonitored cohort vs. 53 in the IOM cohort). Nineteen signal changes were noted. Only 3 of the 19 patients with signal changes had associated neurologic deficits postoperatively (positive predictive value 15.7%). There were 5 neurologic deficits that were observed in the nonmonitored cohort and 8 deficits observed in the monitored cohort. Transient neurologic deficit was significantly higher in the monitored cohort per case (P < 0.0198) and per screw (P < 0.0238); however, there was no difference observed between the 2 cohorts when considering permanent neurologic morbidity per case (P < 0.441) and per screw (P < 0.459). Conclusions: The addition of IOM to cases using image guidance does not appear to decrease long-term postoperative neurologic morbidity and may have a reduced diagnostic role given availability of intraoperative image-guidance systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e155-e160
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Image guidance
  • Intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring
  • Lumbar instrumentation
  • Lumbar spine
  • Neurologic complications
  • O-arm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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