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Eur Spine J. 2015 Apr;24 Suppl 3:353-60. doi: 10.1007/s00586-015-3880-7. Epub 2015 Mar 24.

Technical nuances of the minimally invasive extreme lateral approach to treat thoracolumbar burst fractures.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 200 Lothrop Street, Suite B-400, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA.



Contemporary minimally invasive techniques have evolved to enable direct access to the anterior spinal column via the extreme lateral approach. We have employed this access approach to treat selected burst fractures. We report our technique. Thoracolumbar burst fractures that require surgical intervention have traditionally been managed with anterior, posterior, or combined approaches.


We have applied the minimally invasive extreme lateral approach to perform vertebral corpectomy, cage placement, and lateral instrumentation to treat burst fractures. Indications for surgery were incomplete spinal cord injury with persistent neural element compression due to ventral fracture fragments in the canal. We present the technical nuances of this surgical approach for the treatment of thoracolumbar burst fractures with two case illustrations.


There were no peri- or intra-operative complications. Both patients in our series remained neurologically intact at their last follow-up (11 and 29 months, respectively), and maintained their correction of kyphosis.


The minimally invasive extreme lateral approach is an effective treatment option for the management of thoracolumbar burst fractures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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