2005 Volume 45 Issue 7 Pages 349-355
This study investigated whether the optic nerve evoked potential (ONEP) elicited by electrical stimulation of the optic nerve can serve as a reliable intraoperative indicator of visual function. In the experimental study, two silver-ball stimulating electrodes were placed on the dog optic nerve adjacent to the apex of the orbit and one recording electrode was placed on the optic nerve near the chiasm. The nerve was stimulated with 0.1 to 10 mA rectangular pulses. Stable and reproducible ONEPs were obtained. The ONEPs were not influenced by electromyographic potentials and were recorded more clearly on the optic nerve than on the surrounding tissue. Stepwise incremental transection of the thickness of the nerve resulted in incremental amplitude reduction proportional to the transected area. No response was recorded after complete sectioning of the nerve. In the clinical study, recordings were obtained from 15 patients after craniotomy to treat parasellar tumors or cerebral aneurysms. Reproducible ONEPs were recorded intraoperatively from the electrode placed on the optic nerve near the chiasm in 14 of 15 patients. In the remaining patient, the ONEP, recorded only after tumor removal because the optic nerve was stretched and extremely thin, was remarkably small and the patient developed unilateral blindness postoperatively. These experimental and clinical results suggest the possibility of intraoperative monitoring of visual function in patients undergoing craniotomy for the treatment of lesions near the optic nerve.