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How much experience will the person who is monitoring my spinal cord function have?

Dr. Robert W. Molinari

Rochester, NY

Our institution has state-of-the-art spinal cord monitoring performed by individuals who are experts in their field. There are four neurophysiologists at our institution who typically monitor over 600 patients per year.

Dr. Michael F. O'Brien

Denver Orthopaedics

The healthcare professionals who will be monitoring your spinal cord function are specifically trained in these activities. Most of these individuals are either professionally licensed or by years of experience are competent to perform these activities. Individuals monitoring the spinal cord for our patients have been trained by nationally renowned specialist and monitor surgical cases for us on a regular basis and are an integral part of our surgical team.

Dr. Robert S. Pashman

Los Angeles, CA

For most of these technicians, neurological monitoring is their full-time career. They are extremely experienced. Our operating room equipment is connected to a central command center where a medical doctor who has special training monitors the patient, along with the technician, throughout the whole operation. Any observed changes in the monitoring are quickly relayed from the control room to the operating room for confirmation.

Dr. Baron S. Lonner

New York, NY

It is extremely important that the individual doing the spinal cord monitoring have extensive experience. We employ a spinal cord monitoring team that has a combined experience of thousands of cases.

Dr. Charles E. Johnston, II

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital Orthopedic Group

The person is a trained electro-physiologic technician who has gone to school and had several months of supervised training and passed an examination before doing monitoring alone.

Dr. John P. Lubicky

Chicago, IL
Shriner's Hospital for Children

The types of people who do the spinal cord monitoring vary from one hospital to the next, but at the very least a technician who is certified in the performance of spinal cord monitoring will be present to run the machines and to alert the surgeon of problems. In some hospitals neurologists, rehab medicine specialists or others would be used for the same purpose.

Dr. Stephen Ondra

Chicago, IL

Our center, like most centers that do scoliosis surgery, have a very experienced team of doctors and nurses that will take care of you. Everyone involved in your care will have special education and years of experience in taking care of patients with spine surgery. This includes careful electrical monitoring of spinal cord function. It is like an EEG or brainwave reading of spinal cord function.

Dr. Scott J. Luhmann

St. Louis, MO

The spinal cord monitoring team at our three hospitals consists of six full-time, highly skilled individuals who as a group monitor over 1,200 surgeries per year.

Dr. David W. Polly, Jr.

Minneapolis, MN

Spinal cord monitoring is done by different kinds of people at different places and done in different ways. You will have to ask about your particular place. At my place it is done by someone called a technologist. Both have been doing it for a number of years. They do all their work after you go to sleep. They are looking at the electrical function in your spinal cord.

Dr. Frank J. Schwab

New York, NY

A specialized technician supervised by a Neurophysiologist performs the monitoring of the spinal cord during surgery. The technician's sole function during surgery is to supervise the spinal cord and nerve function. Our spinal cord monitoring team is highly trained and thoroughly familiar with spinal surgical procedures of all types.

Dr. John T. Smith

University of Utah Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

The monitoring of your spinal cord is this person's sole purpose during surgery. Their qualifications include special training and certification. Our spinal cord monitoring technologists are very highly trained and very capable.

Dr. Thomas G. Lowe

Woodridge Orthopaedics & Spine Center, P.C.

The person does only that job on a daily basis. Before they are allowed to do the monitoring by themselves, they have to have monitored at least 50 patients who have had scoliosis surgery.

Dr. James Mooney, III

Detroit, MI

The person monitoring spinal cord function is a professional who performs that function exclusively in most cases. He or she may be a physician or a certified technician.

Dr. Jean-Pierre C. Farcy

New York, NY
M.M.C. Spine Center

A great deal of experience, with an experienced neuro physiologist in attendance.

Dr. Dennis G. Crandall

Mesa, AZ

Our hospital is typical of major spine centers. Our monitoring technicians have several years experience with monitoring spine surgeries and they are all supervised by a neurologist who is also watching the testing as surgery progresses.

The commentary above recounts the experiences of these physicians. Medtronic invited them to share their stories candidly. Keep in mind that results vary; not every patient's response is the same. Talk with your doctor to learn more about any products that are mentioned above.

It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications and benefits of spinal surgery with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your doctor's judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment.

  • Published: June 20, 2002
  • Updated: April 19, 2010