Stable Regional and Global Alignment in Patients Treated With Minimally Invasive Lateral Retropleural Thoracic Diskectomy Without Fixation

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Thoracic disk herniations are challenging to treat, and open transthoracic or minimally invasive thoracoscopic approaches are associated with significant morbidity, substantial costs, and steep learning curves. The minimally invasive lateral retropleural thoracic diskectomy (MIS-LRP-TD) approach is straightforward and is associated with lower perioperative morbidity. With MIS-LRP-TD, the overlying rib, ipsilateral pedicle, ligamentum flavum, posterior longitudinal ligament, and posterior third of the adjacent vertebral bodies are resected. Adjunct fixation is typically not performed, eliminating hardware-related complications and costs. This radiographic study investigates long-term global and thoracic spine alignment after MIS-LRP-TD without fixation. METHODS: This study was a single-institution, retrospective evaluation of all patients who underwent MIS-LRP-TD without fixation between November 7, 2017 and July 19, 2022. Preoperative and the most recent postoperative radiographs were used to determine the C7 plumb line to central sacral vertical line, thoracic Cobb angle (TCA), segmental Cobb angle, C7 to sagittal vertical axis, thoracic kyphosis, and segmental kyphosis. RESULTS: In total, 22 patients with 24 disk herniations underwent MIS-LRP-TD without fixation. The mean (SD) radiographic follow-up was 12.9 (11.2) months. Overall, no significant differences were seen in C7 plumb line to central sacral vertical line (P = .65), C7 to sagittal vertical axis (P = .99), thoracic kyphosis (P = .30), TCA (P = .28), segmental kyphosis (P = .27), or segmental Cobb angle (P = .56) at follow-up. One patient demonstrated a >5° change in TCA but remained asymptomatic. CONCLUSION: Despite requiring extensive resection of the middle column and ipsilateral costovertebral joint at the index level, MIS-LRP-TD without adjunct fixation does not lead to significant global, regional, or segmental deformity. Thus, MIS-LRP-TD appears to be a safe, effective treatment approach for challenging thoracic disk herniations.

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Operative neurosurgery (Hagerstown, Md.)



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