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J Neurosurg Spine. 2010 Nov;13(5):630-5. doi: 10.3171/2010.5.SPINE09717.

Feasibility of thoracic nerve root preservation in posterior transpedicular vertebrectomy with anterior column cage insertion: a cadaveric study.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.



Transpedicular thoracic vertebrectomy (TTV) is a safe alternative to the more standard transthoracic approach. A TTV is most commonly used to address vertebral body fractures due to tumor or trauma. Transpedicular reconstruction of the anterior column with cage/bone traditionally requires unilateral thoracic nerve root sacrifice. In a cadaveric model, the authors evaluated the feasibility of transpedicular anterior column reconstruction without nerve root sacrifice. If feasible, this may be a reasonable approach that could be extended to the lumbar spine where nerve root sacrifice is not an option.


A TTV was performed in 8 fixed cadaveric specimens. In each specimen, an alternate vertebra (either odd or even) was removed so that single-level reconstruction could be evaluated. The vertebrectomy included facetectomy, adjacent discectomies, and laminectomy; however, the nerve roots were preserved. The authors then evaluated the feasibility of inserting a titanium mesh cage (Medtronic Sofamor Danek) without neural sacrifice.


Transpedicular anterior cage reconstruction could be safely performed at all levels of the thoracic spine without nerve root sacrifice. The internerve root space varied from 18 mm at T2-3 to 27 mm at T11-12; thus, the size of the cage that was used also varied with level.


Cage reconstruction of the anterior column could be safely performed via the transpedicular approach without nerve root sacrifice in this cadaveric study. Removal of the proximal part of the rib in addition to a standard laminectomy with transpedicular vertebrectomy provided an excellent corridor for anterior cage reconstruction at all levels of the thoracic spine without nerve root sacrifice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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