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Neurosurg Focus. 2005 Dec 15;19(6):E4.

Thoracoscopic spine surgery for decompression and stabilization of the anterolateral thoracolumbar spine.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.


The anterior thoracolumbar spine can be exposed via a variety of approaches. Historically, open anterolateral or posterolateral approaches have been used to gain access to the anterior thoracolumbar spinal column. Although the exposure is excellent, open approaches are associated with significant pain and respiratory problems, substantial blood loss, poor cosmesis, and prolonged hospitalization. With the increasing use of the endoscope in surgical procedures and recent advances in video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, minimally invasive thoracoscopic spine surgery has been developed to decrease the morbidity associated with open thoracotomy. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the surgical technique of a minimally invasive thoracoscopic approach to the anterolateral thoracolumbar spine and to discuss its potential indications and contraindications in patients with diseases involving the anterior thoracic and lumbar regions.

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