, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 535-539

Experimental fetal neurosurgery: effects of in-utero manipulations on somatosensory evoked potentials

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Abstract

Somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) were used to objectively evaluate sensory function in neonatal sheep after experimental fetal surgery. Posterior tibial (PTN) and ulnar (UN) nerves were stimulated electrically and averaged SEP were recorded from scalp electrodes placed over the somatosensory cortex. Animals with experimentally-created myelomeningocele (MMC) showed no SEP to PTN stimulation, but normal SEP to UN stimulation. In-utero repair of the MMC resulted in preservation of neurologic function and normal PTN SEP. In-utero thoracic spinal-cord transection resulted in no regeneration, and no SEP to PTN stimulation. In-utero unilateral transection of the sciatic nerve, even with attempted repair, resulted in little or no regeneration and absent or grossly abnormal PTN SEP from the affected side. In summary, the SEP technique provides valuable information concerning preservation of sensory function in a variety of experimentally created neurologic abnormalities and can aid in functional evaluation of experimental therapeutic fetal interventions.

Accepted: 16 July 1999