Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP) evaluate nerve pathways responsible for feeling touch and pressure. When you touch something hot or step on something sharp, a signal is sent to your brain to react. SSEPs evaluate this signal as it travels to your brain and provides information about the various functions that are important to your sensory system. Understanding sensory function during surgery plays a critical role in detecting and avoiding unintended complications that could leave a patient with short or long term impairment. Physiologic Assessment Services LLC utilizes SSEP testing as a core part of the intraoperative neuromonitoring services they provide.
How Does Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP) Work?
SSEP testing involves the stimulation of specific nerves and the recording of their activity as they travel to the brain. Stimulating electrodes are placed over specific nerves, typically at the ankle and/or wrist, while recording electrodes are placed on the scalp over the sensory area of the brain. Function of the sensory pathway is evaluated by measuring the commute time between the nerve and the brain, as well as the strength of the sensory response. If the commute time is slower than expected or if the sensory response is weak, this may indicate
abnormalities that are interfering with the pathway.
SSEPs are useful for a variety of reasons, from the evaluation of spinal cord integrity after injury to the assessment of vascular flow to the brain. Due to its ease of application and multi-functional use, SSEPs are often combined with other intraoperative neurophysiologic tests that focus on motor or movement function, such as Electromyography (EMG) or Transcranial Motor Evoked Potentials (TceMEP). SSEP testing is standard practice for intraoperative neuromonitoring during cervical, thoracic, vascular, and brain surgeries, among others.
What are the Risks Associated With Somatosensory Evoked Potential Tests?
The Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP) test is a non-invasive way to assess the somatosensory system. While there is always a small risk of infection any time a needle is involved, risks are almost nonexistent otherwise.
Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP) Performed by Physiologic Assessment Services LLC
Physiological Assessment Services LLC offers the highest level of quality with our intraoperative neuromonitoring services. Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP) is a crucial part of world class IONM that we perform to provide surgical teams with the real time feedback they need on patient sensory status during high-risk procedures.
For more information regarding SSEP or the Intraoperative Neuromonitoring services offered by Physiological Assessment Services, please email us today or call 201-862-9900.
Additional Reading: Importance Of Intraoperative Neuromonitoring