SSEP provide status readings about the spinal cord’s sensory function, mediated by the dorsal columns served by the posterior spinal arteries. With this technique, peripheral nerves in the upper and lower extremities are stimulated electrically, producing potentials from the brachial plexus, popleteal fossa, cervical spine and sensory cortex.
Given their small size, these signals can be lost in background electrical activity. CDS monitors readings continuously during surgery, gathers scores of signals and averages them while selectively filtering out background electrical activity.
Though results can be slowed by SSEP’s averaging algorithm, this modality offers both high sensitivity and high negative predictive value.
Indispensable in surgical suites for nearly 20 years and arguably the most common IONM modality in use, SSEP is often utilized in corrective scoliosis, cervical and lumbar surgeries.