Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring of the cortico-spinal tract in image-guided mini-invasive neurosurgery

Roberto Cordella, Francesco Acerbi, Morgan Broggi, Davide Vailati, Vittoria Nazzi, Marco Schiariti, Giovanni Tringali, Paolo Ferroli, Angelo Franzini, Giovanni Broggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the role of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring in image-guided mini-invasive neurosurgery. Methods: Twenty-one patients were operated under general anaesthesia with the aid of multimodal intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring to remove supratentorials tumors closely related to the cortico-spinal tract. Pre-operative assessment included fMRI scans and tractography that were uploaded into the intraoperative neuro-navigation system. Monitoring consisted in simultaneously recording EEG, electrocorticography, transcranial and direct motor evoked potentials (tMEP and dMEP), somatosensory evoked potentials and subcortical stimulation during the whole procedures. Results: The recording of all the electrophysiological signals was possible in all procedures. SSEP guided the positioning of the strip electrode over the motor cortex (N20 phase inversion) that was used to evoke dMEP and monitor the lower limb motor responses; subcortical stimulation to unveil the spatial relationship between the tumors and motor fibers. Four patients had transient worsening of the symptoms, but only two had a long-term worsening, although not severe, of the pre-op clinical status. Conclusions: Intraoperative neurophysiology has a great value in mini-invasive neurosurgery, especially because the motor cortex is not exposed, consequently it cannot be directly mapped. This report describes a valuable scheme making use of as many electrophysiological signals as possible to constantly monitor the motor functions. Significance: A useful method to monitor motor functions in mini-invasive neurosurgery was described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1244-1254
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Cortico-spinal tract
  • Intraoperative neurophysiology
  • Mini-invasive neurosurgery
  • Motor eloquent area
  • Supratentorial tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Sensory Systems


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