Neuro-monitoring, or Intra-operative monitoring is a procedure that involves placing small electrodes (wires) on various places (such as hands/arms/feet/scalp, etc). The electrodes are generally placed while the patient is asleep (under general anesthesia), but the person may notice a small tender area where the needle electrode was. There may also be an electrode placed in the ear canal, much like the microphones used with a music player. Impulses are sent through the electrodes to stimulate various nerves, and the response is monitored on the computer screen.

The technician is in the operating room during the surgical procedure and monitors the nerve activity via computer. The nerve activity is sent by computer to a specialist (usually a Neurologist), who will monitor your sensory and motor function continuously during the surgical procedure.  If any changes occur during the procedure, the specialist notifies the technician, who notifies the surgeon immediately.

Intraoperative monitoring can help ensure that if there is any abnormal activity in the system being monitored, the surgeon will be notified immediately. Though not needed in all neurological surgeries, this additional safeguard may help reduce the risk of nerve injury in some cases.