Spinal surgery has always been a major one involving many tedious procedures. A useful monitoring device has been accepted that assures that spinal surgery does not affect movements in the arms and legs. Operating on tumours and other problems in the spine is risky, because the surgeon might separate some of the nerves that are needed to allow movement in the limbs. Researchers at the State University of New York, have been testing a device developed in England that aims to monitor the nervous system during surgery.
The device is called a multipulse cortical stimulator, and it checks on nerve impulses that allow the limbs to move. If these change, the device tells the surgeon that the operation may be putting the patient at risk and it is time to hold back. If the device gives the all clear, then the surgeon can plunge on and even be a bit more aggressive if it's a case of cutting out the whole of a tumour.
The stimulator has been on trial for seven years now by SUNY researchers and others, and has been used on over 1,580 patients aged between five and 80 . It has just been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which opens the door to its more widespread use among the population.