A Novel Signal Processing Method for Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring in Spinal Surgeries Dissertation

(2013). A Novel Signal Processing Method for Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring in Spinal Surgeries . 10.25148/etd.FI13121209

thesis or dissertation chair


  • Vedala, Krishnatej


  • Intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring is an integral part of spinal surgeries and involves the recording of somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP). However, clinical application of IONM still requires anywhere between 200 to 2000 trials to obtain an SSEP signal, which is excessive and introduces a significant delay during surgery to detect a possible neurological damage. The aim of this study is to develop a means to obtain the SSEP using a much less, twelve number of recordings. The preliminary step involved was to distinguish the SSEP with the ongoing brain activity. We first establish that the brain activity is indeed quasi-stationary whereas an SSEP is expected to be identical every time a trial is recorded.

    An algorithm was developed using Chebychev time windowing for preconditioning of SSEP trials to retain the morphological characteristics of somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP). This preconditioning was followed by the application of a principal component analysis (PCA)-based algorithm utilizing quasi-stationarity of EEG on 12 preconditioned trials. A unique Walsh transform operation was then used to identify the position of the SSEP event. An alarm is raised when there is a 10% time in latency deviation and/or 50% peak-to-peak amplitude deviation, as per the clinical requirements. The algorithm shows consistency in the results in monitoring SSEP in up to 6-hour surgical procedures even under this significantly reduced number of trials.

    In this study, the analysis was performed on the data recorded in 29 patients undergoing surgery during which the posterior tibial nerve was stimulated and SSEP response was recorded from scalp. This method is shown empirically to be more clinically viable than present day approaches. In all 29 cases, the algorithm takes 4sec to extract an SSEP signal, as compared to conventional methods, which take several minutes.

    The monitoring process using the algorithm was successful and proved conclusive under the clinical constraints throughout the different surgical procedures with an accuracy of 91.5%. Higher accuracy and faster execution time, observed in the present study, in determining the SSEP signals provide a much improved and effective neurophysiological monitoring process.

publication date

  • November 15, 2013


  • biomedical engineering
  • intraoperative monitoring
  • neurophysiology
  • signal processing
  • somatosensory evoked potentials
  • spinal injury

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)