Intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) is a widely used practice in spine surgery for early detection and minimization of neurological injury. IONM is most commonly conducted by indirectly recording motor and somatosensory evoked potentials from either muscles or the scalp, which requires large-amplitude electrical stimulation and provides limited spatiotemporal information. IONM may inform of inadvertent events during neurosurgery after they occur, but it does not guide safe surgical procedures when the anatomy of the diseased spinal cord is distorted. To overcome these limitations and to increase our understanding of human spinal cord neurophysiology, we applied a microelectrode array with hundreds of channels to the exposed spinal cord during surgery and resolved spatiotemporal dynamics with high definition. We used this method to construct two-dimensional maps of responsive channels and define with submillimeter precision the electrophysiological midline of the spinal cord. The high sensitivity of our microelectrode array allowed us to record both epidural and subdural responses at stimulation currents that are well below those used clinically and to resolve postoperative evoked potentials when IONM could not. Together, these advances highlight the potential of our microelectrode arrays to capture previously unexplored spinal cord neural activity and its spatiotemporal dynamics at high resolution, offering better electrophysiological markers that can transform IONM.
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