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Skull base surgery. 1995 July; 5(3): 169–175.
PMCID: PMC1656493

Intraoperative Monitoring of Motor Cranial Nerves in Skull Base Surgery


Intraoperative monitoring of cranial nerves is performed to minimize postoperative cranial nerve dysfunction. We performed electrophysiologic monitoring of motor cranial nerves with a NIM 2 unit from Xomed Treace and a patient multiplexer developed in our clinic. This multiplexer allows simultaneous monitoring of four cranial nerves and is additionally equipped with a bipolar stimulation mode. This intraoperative monitoring was used during 102 skull base operations. Of these, 44 operations were acoustic neuroma removals by translabyrinthine approach and 36 by a middle fossa approach. Various operations, including removal of tumors of the jugular foramen and the infratemporal fossa, were performed in the remaining 22 patients. The facial nerve, being the most frequently monitored nerve, was evaluated both preoperatively and intraoperatively. Electrophysiologic data were evaluated with respect to their predictive value for postoperative facial nerve function. The relative percent decrease in amplitude of the electromyogram after resection compared to that observed before resection seems to be of some predictive value for the postoperative facial nerve function. A 50 to 60% decrease or more is associated with an increase in the House classification. Intraoperative monitoring is a useful tool in skull base surgery, allowing for safer and faster identification of motor nerves in pathologic-anatomic conditions. It allows the surgeon a degree of comfort by providing immediate information regarding the status of the nerve. It may also improve postoperative nerve function and shorten operating time. Additionally, neuromonitoring provides some information about expected postoperative facial nerve function.

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Selected References

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