Jiandang Shi, Xuefeng Yue, Ningkui Niu, Chen Zhao, Hongyan Qiu, Zili Wang

July 2017, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 1852 - 1861 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-016-4917-2

First Online: 27 December 2016


In the present prospective randomized controlled study, we compared the feasibility and effectiveness of our modified thoracoabdominal approach to anterior thoracolumbar spine surgery without cutting open the costal portion of diaphragm (extradiaphragmatic approach) with the traditional transdiaphragmatic thoracoabdominal approach. The traditional combined thoracoabdominal approach in anterior thoracolumbar surgery for spine tuberculosis is effective but seriously damages the diaphragm and causes various lung complications. We used an extradiaphragmatic approach for complete anterior debridement, bone grafting, and nerve decompression and compared its efficacy and complications with those of the traditional transdiaphragmatic thoracolumbar approach.


The study included 106 patients with spinal tuberculosis. After a standard preoperative chemotherapy regimen, all patients underwent posterior deformity correction and internal fixation, anterior debridement, decompression, and bone grafting. Patients were divided into the modified extradiaphragmatic thoracolumbar approach group (the modified group) and the traditional transdiaphragmatic thoracolumbar approach group (the traditional group). During the treatment, we strictly followed the standard chemotherapy regimen.


The mean follow-up duration was 36.2 months (range 25–38 months). There were significant differences between the two groups in intraoperative blood loss, length of incision, recovery time, and postoperative complications but no significant differences in preoperative and postoperative erythrocyte sedimentation rates and C-reactive protein values, kyphosis, and neurologic function, recovery of ability to live and work, and postoperative healing of bone grafts.


The modified extradiaphragmatic thoracolumbar approach for anterior thoracolumbar spine surgery is as effective as the traditional approach. However, associated surgical trauma is minimal, and the incidence of pulmonary complications is low.

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