Clinical and physiological effects of transcranial electrical stimulation position on motor evoked potentials in scoliosis surgery

Lo, Y. L.; Dan, Y. F.; Tan, Y. E.; Teo, A.; Tan, S. B.; Yue, W. M.; Guo, C. M.; Fook-Chong, S.
January 2010
Scoliosis (17487161);2010, Vol. 5, p3
Academic Journal
Background: During intraoperative monitoring for scoliosis surgery, we have previously elicited ipsilateral and contralateral motor evoked potentials (MEP) with cross scalp stimulation. Ipsilateral MEPs, which may have comprised summation of early ipsilaterally conducted components and transcallosally or deep white matter stimulated components, can show larger amplitudes than those derived purely from contralateral motor cortex stimulation. We tested this hypothesis using two stimulating positions. We compared intraoperative MEPs in 14 neurologically normal subjects undergoing scoliosis surgery using total intravenous anesthetic regimens. Methods: Trancranial electrical stimulation was applied with both cross scalp (C3C4 or C4C3) or midline (C3Cz or C4Cz) positions. The latter was assumed to be more focal and result in little transcallosal/deep white matter stimulation. A train of 5 square wave stimuli 0.5 ms in duration at up to 200 mA was delivered with 4 ms (250 Hz) interstimulus intervals. Averaged supramaximal MEPs were obtained from the tibialis anterior bilaterally. Results: The cross scalp stimulating position resulted in supramaximal MEPs that were of significantly higher amplitude, shorter latency and required lower stimulating intensity to elicit overall (Wilcoxon Signed Rank test, p < 0.05 for all), as compared to the midline stimulating position. However, no significant differences were found for all 3 parameters comparing ipsilaterally and contralaterally recorded MEPs (p > 0.05 for all), seen for both stimulating positions individually. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that cross scalp stimulation resulted in MEPs obtained ipsilaterally and contralaterally which may be contributed to by summation of ipsilateral and simultaneous transcallosally or deep white matter conducted stimulation of the opposite motor cortex. Use of this stimulating position is advocated to elicit MEPs under operative circumstances where anesthetic agents may cause suppression of cortical and spinal excitability. Although less focal in nature, cross scalp stimulation would be most suitable for infratentorial or spinal surgery, in contrast to supratentorial neurosurgical procedures.


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