What are Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP)?

Somatosensory Evoked Potential

Simply put, Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP) are ways that the brain and spinal cord responses to specific sensory stimuli. SSEP measures the electrical activity in our brains in response to different stimulations such as tough, sight, or even sound. When our brains receive these stimulations, they send signals along the nerves to the brain. This is done by stimulating SSEP can be used for a number of applications, including:

  • Stimulation of muscles in the leg to assist with improving gait
  • Evaluation of spinal cord integrity after injury
  • Assessment of vascular flow to the brain
  • Stimulation of the tongue to effect the pons
  • Stimulation of nerves in the face to treat headaches
  • Identification of clinically silent lesions
  • Monitoring changes in a patient over time

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How does SSEP Work?

Somatosensory Evoked Potential testing involves electro-stimulation of a series nerves, recording of the nerves’ performance as they travel to the brain. Put in more simple terms, SSEP testing tracks signals as they travel through our nerves. SSEP testing is a standard practice for intraoperative neuromonitoring during thoracic, vascular, cervical and brain surgeries, among other types of procedures.

This form of testing uses a mild stimulus to make certain nerves react, thus sending a signal to the brain. The SSEP assesses the pathways from nerves in arms or legs through the spinal cord to the brain. In less than an hour, we can assess damage to the nervous system and how it is affecting the relationship between sensory nerves and brain.

While SSEP The most commonly used sites of stimulation are the median nerve at the wrist and the posterior tibial nerve at the ankle and recorded at the scalp. During your procedure, you will be stimulated at this area while our experts measure the response with a device on your scalp. This process is painless, and completely non-invasive.

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brain receiving signals from nerves in arms

Why Somatosensory Evoked Potentials Are Used

SSEPS are used for a wide range of applications, including to confirm and localize sensory abnormality, to identify silent or invisible injuries, and to monitor changes during surgical procedures. One of its major advantages is that SSEPs are non-invasive, quick, and painless.

SSEPs are especially helpful when more standard diagnostic processes and neurologic examinations are not fully conclusive. For example, the test might be used when a doctor suspects MS, however a neurological examination has not been conclusive. A SSEP test can be performed to identify MS lesions on the brain and spine where no visual symptoms are present.

Patients suffering vision problems stemming from mild traumatic brain injury – both past or present – can benefit from Somatosensory Evoked Potential treatment.

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Somatosensory Evoked Potentials Testing at Broadview Health Centre

If you think you might require Somatosensory Evoked Potentials testing, Broadview Spine & Health Centre should be your first stop. Our experienced team offers the utmost quality in our intraoperative neuromonitoring services.

After performing a Somatosensory Evoked Potentials diagnostic test, our Chiropractic Neurologists will determine the best treatment options to help you get on the path towards well-being.

To find out more, call us today at 613-728-2929 or book an appointment online.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. At the start of the appointment you may be asked to remove your shoes and outer upper garments in order for there to be space for the application of detection electrodes.
  2. Detection electrodes will be glued to various spots on the neck, back and scalp of the patient.
  3. A generator is used to generate small electrical impulses along the nerves in your wrist or ankle. These impulses may cause little twitches but are not painful.
  4. As the patient, we encourage you to listen carefully to all instructions and stay relaxed in order to guarantee optimal results. All responses will be recorded through special equipment.
  5. Following the procedure, you will be able to put any clothing or shoes on that you removed and go straight home.
  6. The doctor will discuss results of your test with you after they have been analysed.

If you have any other questions about the Somatosensory Evoked Potential procedure, do not hesitate to contact us, we would be happy to help.

SSEP treatment has been shown to significantly help with patients who are suffering from vision problems that have occurred from both acute and severe traumatic brain injuries.

To find out if you are eligible for SSEP treatment, contact Broadview Spine & Health Centre in Ottawa today.

A SSEP procedure can take less than an hour and includes both the assessment of the damage to the nervous system and how it is affecting the relationship between sensory nerves and the brain.

To find out if you are eligible for SSEP treatment, contact Broadview Spine & Health Centre in Ottawa today.

Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP) treatment is a safe and non-invasive procedure. The procedure is conducted through the use of electrodes placed externally on the body to generate small electrical impulses that investigate the pathway of sensory nerves leading to the brain.

To find out if you are eligible for SSEP treatment, contact Broadview Spine & Health Centre in Ottawa today.