Intraoperative lateral rectus electromyographic recordings optimized by deep intraorbital needle electrodes

Tatsuya Oishi, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Michael J. Link, Andrea A. Tooley, Ernest M. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We demonstrate the advantages and safety of long, intraorbitally-placed needle electrodes, compared to standard-length subdermal electrodes, when recording lateral rectus electromyography (EMG) during intracranial surgeries. Methods: Insulated 25 mm and uninsulated 13 mm needle electrodes, aimed at the lateral rectus muscle, were placed in parallel during 10 intracranial surgeries, examining spontaneous and stimulation-induced EMG activities. Postoperative complications in these patients were reviewed, alongside additional patients who underwent long electrode placement in the lateral rectus. Results: In 40 stimulation-induced recordings from 10 patients, the 25 mm electrodes recorded 6- to 26-fold greater amplitude EMG waveforms than the 13 mm electrodes. The 13 mm electrodes detected greater unwanted volume conduction upon facial nerve stimulation, typically exceeding the amplitude of abducens nerve stimulation. Except for one case with lateral canthus ecchymosis, no clinical or radiographic complications occurred in 36 patients (41 lateral rectus muscles) following needle placement. Conclusions: Intramuscular recordings from long electrode in the lateral rectus offers more reliable EMG monitoring than 13 mm needles, with excellent discrimination between abducens and facial nerve stimulations, and without significant complications from needle placement. Significance: Long intramuscular electrode within the orbit for lateral rectus EMG recording is practical and reliable for abducens nerve monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2510-2518
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Abducens
  • Compound muscle action potential (CMAP)
  • Cranial nerve
  • Craniotomy
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Extraocular muscle
  • Intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM)
  • Lateral rectus
  • Skull base tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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