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The contribution of neurophysiology in the diagnosis and management of cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a review.
Nardone, R; Höller, Y; Brigo, F; Frey, VN; Lochner, P; Leis, S; Golaszewski, S; Trinka, E;
Spinal Cord. 2016; 54(10): 75-766.


Frey Vanessa Natalie
Golaszewski Stefan
Höller Yvonne
Leis Stefan
Nardone Raffaele
Trinka Eugen


Topical review of the literature.
The objective of this review article was to assess indications and usefulness of various neurophysiological techniques in diagnosis and management of cervical spondylogenic myelopathy (CSM).
The MEDLINE, accessed by Pubmed and EMBASE electronic databases, was searched using the medical subject headings: "compressive myelopathy", "cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM)", "cervical spondylogenic myelopathy", "motor evoked potentials (MEPs)", "transcranial magnetic stimulation", "somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs)", "electromyography (EMG)", "nerve conduction studies (NCS)" and "cutaneous silent period (CSP)".
SEPs and MEPs recording can usefully supplement clinical examination and neuroimaging findings in assessing the spinal cord injury level and severity. Segmental cervical cord dysfunction can be revealed by an abnormal spinal N13 response, whereas the P14 potential is a reliable marker of dorsal column impairment. MEPs may also help in the differential diagnosis between spinal cord compression and neurodegenerative disorders. SEPs and MEPs are also useful in follow-up evaluation of sensory and motor function during surgical treatment and rehabilitation. EMG and NCS improve the sensitivity of cervical radiculopathy detection and may help rule out peripheral nerve problems that can cause symptoms that are similar to those of CSM. CSP also shows a high sensitivity for detecting CSM.
Neuroimaging, especially magnetic resonance imaging, represents the procedure of choice for the diagnosis of CSM, but a correct interpretation of morphological findings can be achieved only if they are correlated with functional data. The studies reported in this review highlight the crucial role of the electrophysiological studies in diagnosis and management of CSM.