Sometimes surgeries cause a certain body part to become dysfunctional, which leads to paralysis. Professionals at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) have now issued guidelines for doctors to prevent surgery-related paralysis.

As per the findings, monitoring the spinal cord in the course of surgeries could inhibit paralysis. Specifically, during spinal cord and chest surgeries that may lead to paralytic conditions due to spinal cord impairment.

Lead author Marc R. Nuwer, MD, PhD, of UCLA and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, commented, “Paraparesis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia are potential serious complications of surgeries where the spinal cord is at risk. Monitoring can help prevent damage by identifying problems early enough to allow for interventions. If intraoperative monitoring raises warnings, surgeons and anesthesiologists can modify the surgery to reduce the risk of these complications.”

The process of monitoring the spinal cord is termed as an intraoperative mechanism, where motor evoked potentials (MEPs) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) are inspected. In almost all the instances of paralysis, patients seemed to experience alterations in their evoked potentials in the surgery. Null changes in the latter did not appear to account for conditions like quadriplegia in the subjects. The scientists asserted that the best way to combat paralysis is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Spinal cord monitoring done under the supervision of a neurologist may help tackle paralysis, they concluded. The report is published in the journal, Neurology along with the Journal Of Clinical Neurophysiology.