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UPMC Center for Clinical Neurophysiology

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The UPMC Center for Clinical Neurophysiology provides diagnostic testing and continuous real time intraoperative (during surgery) monitoring of the nervous system.

During surgery, the neurophysiologist monitors live signals from the patient’s:

  • Brain
  • Spinal cord
  • Sensory organs
  • Nerves that connect these organs with the rest of the body

The main goal is to predict and prevent nerve injury within these structures during surgery.

The center monitors more than 7,000 surgical procedures each year and reaches across many specialties, and is the largest academic intraoperative monitoring provider in the U.S. In addition to adult and pediatric neurosurgery, the center provides monitoring for orthopaedic, otolaryngology, and heart and vascular surgery.

The center also provides telemedicine consultation to community hospitals throughout Pennsylvania. This allows patients to stay in their own communities while benefiting from the expertise of the center.

Advanced Monitoring Technology

Intraoperative monitoring at UPMC includes expertise in:

  • Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP) — A test that evaluates the function of the spinal cord, and brain.
  • Brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP) — A test that evaluates hearing function during surgical procedures of the brain.
  • Motor evoked potentials (MEP) — A test monitoring the function of the hand and leg movements in response to stimulation.
  • Electromyography (EMG) — This test records the electrical activity of muscles and is used to evaluate the function of the nerves that control the hands and legs during a surgical procedure.
  • Direct peripheral nerve recordings — This test records electrical activity of the nerves and is used to evaluate the function of the nerves that control the hand and legs.
  • Single unit micro-electrode recordings for the placement of deep brain stimulation electrodes for movement disorders.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) — a test that detects electrical activity in your brain - to prevent strokes during cerebral aneurysm treatment, carotid endarterectomy, and a variety of cardiothoracic procedures. EEG recorded directly from the pial surface of the brain (the boundary between grey matter and cerebrospinal fluid), is used to help determine surgical pathways in epilepsy surgery, and to monitor for seizures during electrical stimulation of the brain in awake patients.

In addition to providing intraoperative monitoring services, the UPMC Center for Clinical Neurophysiology also performs evoked potential testing (a test that measures the time it takes for nerves to respond to stimulation) and transcranial Doppler studies (a test that evaluates blood circulation in the brain).​