Speaker: Dr. Chris Pace, PhD, CNIM – Chief Clinical Officer
Dr. Christopher Pace, Neuro Alert’s Chief Clinical Officer, discusses the benefits of IONM in surgery as well as the extensive training programs students will complete to earn their IONM certifications.
Dr. Chris Pace:
Of the many benefits of IONM is the fact that the patient can stay asleep throughout the entire procedure. One of the standards previously, was that they would reduce the anesthesia, wake up the patient, and ask them to move their lower extremity. With IONM it’s the signals that validate that the patient’s nervous system is still healthy, so there’s no need to wake them up during the procedure.
Of the many things that are important to performing Intraoperative Neurophysiologic Monitoring well is being educated and exposed. It’s one thing for someone to read a textbook and get background information about Intraoperative Monitoring or Neurophysiology, it’s another thing to get practical exposure in the operating room to understand what it means to set up a patient and troubleshoot signals and also to understand in depth all the surgical steps and when they put, and how they put, the nervous system at risk.
Of the many features of Neuro Alert that distinguish it from other Intraoperative Neurophysiologic Monitoring companies is the fact that we structure our company around building relationships. We build relationships with the surgeons, with our supervising physicians, with the hospital administration, with our Surgical Neurophysiologists, and our team members. Relationships such as these are important because they build trust and understanding. It’s the best way to provide the most optimal patient care.
When you think of IONM, you’re thinking of cases particularly that relate to the spine. Spinal deformity procedures, correction of instability in the spine, spinal compression surgery, like a herniated disc and particularity when there are fusion or metal elements that go into the spine to stabilize the spine. Recently Neuro Alert participated in the separation of conjoined twins, one-year-old babies who were having surgery to separate them from the hip. Neuro Alert was very proud to participate in the surgery. It was a very rare opportunity and we provided valuable information for the surgeons so they had a good understanding of where they could separate these twins’ nervous system. Another surgery that we participated in recently was an awake craniotomy. The patient had a tumor that was positioned between their language and motor centers in the brain and we were able to help the surgeon map those areas protecting the function for the language and motor areas.
At Neuro Alert we have an extensive and deep education and training program. The students start in the classroom where they gain the background information that they need and gain an understanding of the fundamentals and the principles of Neurophysiology. After their didactic program they go out into the field where they participate practically, setting up patients and performing the intraoperative monitoring with a supervisor. Gradually they go from observation to participation until eventually they’re cleared to cover cases on their own.