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1.5. Monitoring the Spinal Cord During Surgery

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) develops guidelines to promote patient safety and improve patient outcomes in relation to neurologic conditions.  AAN recently issued an updated guideline (February 2012) that recommends monitoring the spinal cord during spinal surgery and certain chest surgeries to help prevent paralysis, or loss of muscle function, related to the surgeries.

"Paraparesis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia are potential serious complications of surgeries where the spinal cord is at risk," said guideline lead author Marc R. Nuwer, MD, PhD, of UCLA and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "Monitoring can help prevent damage by identifying problems early enough to allow for interventions. If intraoperative monitoring raises warnings, surgeons and anesthesiologists can modify the surgery to reduce the risk of these complications."

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