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Neurosurg Focus. 1999 Dec 15;7(6):e4.

Minimally invasive retroperitoneal approach for lumbar corpectomy and reconstruction. Technical note.

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Departments of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery, Donauspital SMZ-Ost, Vienna, Austria.


Anterior decompressive surgery with spinal fusion is considered an effective treatment for thoracolumbar fractures and tumors. However, it is also known to be associated with considerable surgical approach-related trauma. The purpose of this study was to show that lumbar corpectomy and spinal reconstruction can be performed via a minimally invasive retroperitoneal (MIR) approach and therefore, the surgical approach-related trauma can be reduced. The hospital records and radiological studies obtained in five patients (mean age 67.4 years, range 59-76 years) who underwent lumbar corpectomy and spinal fusion via an MIR approach were studied retrospectively. Four patients presented with osteoporotic compression fractures at L-2 and L-3 and one patient with metastatic disease at L-4 from prostate cancer. In all patients neurological deficits due to cauda equina compression were demonstrated. The MIR approach provided excellent exposure to facilitate complete spinal decompression and reconstruction in all patients, as verified on follow-up x-ray studies. All patients improved clinically. A 1-year follow-up record, available for four patients, showed evidence of continuing clinical improvement and, radiographically, a solid fusion or a stable compound union and anatomically correct reconstruction. The MIR approach allows anterior lumbar spine surgery to be performed less invasively. The efficacy and safety of this technique compared with the conventional retroperitoneal approach to lumbar spine surgery should be further investigated in a larger series.


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