Thomas Kossmann, Dagmar Jacobi, Otmar Trentz

October 2001, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 396 - 402 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860100330

First Online: 06 October 2001

In 65 consecutive cases of trauma (n=55), pseudo-arthrosis (n=4) and metastasis (n=6), anterior reconstruction of the thoracic and lumbar spine was performed using a new minimal invasive but open access procedure. No operation had to be changed into an open procedure. The thoracolumbar junction was approached by a left-sided mini-thoracotomy (n=50), the thoracic spine by a right-sided mini-thoracotomy (n=8) and the lumbar spine by a left sided mini-retroperitoneal approach (n=7), using a new table-mounted retractor system called SynFrame (Stratec Medical, Switzerland). The anterior column was reconstructed using a variety of materials: autologous tricortical crest (n=11), autologous spongiosa (n=12), allografts (n=4) and cages (n=38). The mean overall operating time was 170 min (range 90–295 min); the time of surgery varied, depending on the spine pathology and the magnitude of the intervention in the anterior part of the spine. Mean overall blood loss was 912 ml, and only 7 out of the 65 patients needed blood transfusions. There were neither intra- nor postoperative complications related to the minimal access in particular, nor visceral/vascular complications. No intercostal neuralgia, no post-thoracotomy pain syndromes, no superficial or deep wound infections and no deep venous thromboses occurred. Four cases of pseudo-obstruction were treated conservatively. In this study, we describe the new minimal access technology to the anterior part of the thoracal and lumbar spine on the basis of 65 cases completed within 1 year. This open, but minimal invasive, access technology offers, in our view, additional advantages to the "pure" endoscopic procedures of spinal surgery.

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