Intramedullary spinal cord tumor (ISCT) surgery is challenged by a significant risk of neurological injury. Indeed, while most ISCT patients arrive to surgery in good neurological condition due to early diagnosis, many experience some degree of postoperative sensorimotor deficit. Thus, intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) is invaluable for providing functional information that helps neurosurgeons tailor the surgical strategy to maximize resection while minimizing morbidity. Somatosensory evoked potential (SEP), muscle motor evoked potential (mMEP), and D-wave monitoring are routinely used to continuously assess the functional integrity of the long pathways within the spinal cord. More recently, mapping techniques have been introduced to identify the dorsal columns and the corticospinal tracts. Intraoperative SEP decline is not a sufficient reason to abandon surgery, since SEPs are very sensitive to anesthesia and surgical maneuvers. Yet, a severe proprioceptive deficit may adversely impact daily life, and the value of SEPs should be reconsidered. While mMEPs are good predictors of short-term motor outcome, the D-wave is the strongest predictor of long-term motor outcome, and its preservation during surgery is essential. Mapping techniques are promising but still need validation in large cohorts of patients to determine their impact on clinical outcome. The therapeutic rather than merely diagnostic value of IONM in spine surgery is still debated, but there is emerging evidence that IONM provides an essential adjunct in ISCT surgery.
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