US researchers have found that mechanomyography (MMG) systems can accurately locate and avoid nerves during spinal procedures.

MMG systems measure the mechanical response of muscle following nerve stimulation, compared to traditional techniques that monitor the electrical response of muscles using electromyography (EMG), according to Henry Ford Hospital researchers.

The MMG system can also detect the presence of nerves during minimally invasive surgical procedures when the nerves can not be directly visualised.

MMG has been widely used in laboratory settings to study issues such as muscle fatigue, however, up until now it has not been applied as an intraoperative tool for locating nerves.

The system has a faster response, indicating a higher sensitivity for detection of nerves at a lower threshold.

The MMG system has a maximum current output of 6mA, nearly 35 times less than comparable EMG systems.