OR Life: INN Surgical Neurophysiologist Assisting in Neurosurgery Procedures

By Olivia Martinez and Elizabeth Geissinger

Surgical Neurophysiologists assist the surgeons by
monitoring neurosurgery procedures to avoid and reduce the patient’s risk of
complications such as nerve damage, paralysis, stroke and more. Surgical
Neurophysiologists provide functional guidance to the surgeon and surgical team
and can help localize and test the function of nerve structures. So, what is
life like for someone working as a Surgical Neurophysiologist for INN? Anything
but ordinary!

Working as a Surgical Neurophysiologist is not your normal
9-5 job—your schedule is widely variable and, in most cases, you are not
working 5 days a week. It is not unusual to arrive at the hospital before or
during sunrise on most days for a 1st start case. You do not have to
worry about being a fashionista. Scrubs are the uniform of a Surgical
Neurophysiologist accompanied by accessories to cover your hair, shoes, and
mouth.  

You get to work in a team based environmental. You work with
a dynamic surgical team where each person plays an important role to ensure the
patient has the best outcome possible. It is like an orchestra where the
surgeon is the conductor and the circulating nurse, anesthesia, vendors, scrub
tech, etc. are the instruments. Together the entire team creates a beautiful
symphony.

You utilize state-of-the-art equipment and supplies to
execute our services and most often bring them unless they are stored at the
facility. Depending on the neurosurgery procedure and surgeon’s request, a
variety of electrodes are placed on the patient shortly after the patient is
anesthetized. Once data acquisition begins, we put on our detective hat. Should
response(s) be absent or marginal, troubleshooting begins to verify it’s not
technical, anesthetic, physiologic, or positional. Continuous monitoring is
performed throughout the procedure until the surgeon concludes it. In the event
signals attenuate or change, the following sequence of events take place;
physician interpretation, surgeon and surgical team are immediately notified,
identify cause through troubleshooting, and the intervention and recovery of
signals.

At IntraNerve Neuroscience (INN), we have a motto of ‘Same
Faces Covering Cases’. Having teams of local and familiar Neurophysiologists is
crucial for building strong partnerships with the surgeons and hospital staff.
Outside of the OR, each of our region’s local teams get to know each other well
through team meetings and get-togethers. The day-to-day schedule can change
like the wind, but every day is a great day when your job is preventative and
beneficial to the patient, surgeon, and surgical team.

 

Will you be at NASS 2019? INN will be at the NASS 2019 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL on September 25th – 28th. Come learn more about our High-Performance Neuroscience Services and meet some of our Surgical Neurophysiologist Team at Booth #5214. We look forward to meeting you!

Intraoperative Neuromonitoring and Technical Neuromonitoring