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May 1987

Somatosensory Evoked Potentials: Usefulness in Cases of Radiculopathy?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology Michael Reese Hospital Lake Shore Drive at 31st Street Chicago, IL 60616

Arch Neurol. 1987;44(5):474. doi:10.1001/archneur.1987.00520170006009

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In Reply.  —We agree with Dr Jaffe that the best judge of a clinical technique is its importance for meaningful therapeutic decisions. As Jaffe himself recognizes, however, studying the role of somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) in low back pain (LBP) using this criterion would be a formidable task. The problems include the multifaceted nature of LBP, as well as the elusive nature of medical decision-making. Before even contem-plating such a study, there would have to be evidence that SSEPs could be of value for evaluating patients with LBP.It is in this context that our study "confirmed and amplified" the usefulness of the SSEP technique. Even Jaffe does not question this. The "valuable data" Jaffe mentioned indicate SSEPs can provide physiologic evidence of lumbosacral root injury not otherwise obtainable. This includes correlation of SSEP abnormalities with myelographic root amputation. Other than the clinical-radiographic-electrophysiologic approach taken in our study, it is

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