Program to monitor neurosurgical patients is first accredited in state

image003MINNEAPOLIS – (April 9, 2014) – Abbott Northwestern Hospital recently received accreditation from the Neurophysiologic Intraoperative Monitoring Laboratory Accreditation Board of ABRET (LAB-NIOM). It is one of 17 accredited programs in the U.S. and the only one in Minnesota.

“If you have the opportunity to use intraoperative monitoring in specific situations, it is one more safety measure to alert the surgeon for the risk potential of neurological deficits during surgery,” said Mahmoud Nagib, MD, a neurosurgeon at Abbott Northwestern.

Diann Plummer of New Hope was in an Abbott Northwestern operating room on April 8 for neck surgery. While she was sleeping and before the incision, two technologists taped into place tiny half-inch needle electrodes in ten locations on her body just under the skin.

image001During the surgery, a technologist and physician monitored her nervous system. If the readings changed, they would advise the surgeon. The goal is an attempt at protecting the motor and sensory pathways .

About 30 percent of all neurosurgery and orthopedic spine surgeries performed at the hospital include intraoperative monitoring. Typically the surgeon determines if it’s used.

“Patients can advocate for it. If they’re having surgery, they should ask their surgeons about the risks and whether their nerves should be monitored,” said Stanley Skinner, a neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist at Abbott Northwestern.

According to ABRET, the purpose of accreditation is to recognize through an objective peer review process, neurophysiologic intraoperative monitoring laboratories that comply with established standards and guidelines, have policies and procedures in place that reflect acceptable standard of care, and support professionalism and quality patient care.

About Abbott Northwestern Hospital

U.S. News and World Report in 2013 cited Abbott Northwestern Hospital as one of the nation’s best hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery, including spine surgery. Abbott Northwestern is part of Allina Health. Allina Health, a not for profit health care system, is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Learn more at

April 17, 2014
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