Full-endoscopic uniportal decompression in disc herniations and stenosis of the thoracic spine using the interlaminar, extraforaminal, or transthoracic retropleural approach

J Neurosurg Spine 29:157–168, 2018

Surgery for thoracic disc herniation and spinal canal stenosis is comparatively rare and often challenging. Individual planning and various surgical techniques and approaches are required. The key factors for selecting the technique and approach are anatomical location, consistency of the pathology, general condition of the patient, and the surgeon’s experience. The objective of the study was to evaluate the technical implementation and outcomes of a full endoscopic uniportal technique via the interlaminar, extraforaminal, or transthoracic retropleural approach in patients with symptomatic disc herniation and stenosis of the thoracic spine, taking specific advantages and disadvantages and literature into consideration.

METHODS Between 2009 and 2015, decompression was performed in 55 patients with thoracic disc herniation or stenosis using a full-endoscopic uniportal technique via an interlaminar, extraforaminal, or transthoracic retropleural approach. Imaging and clinical data were collected during follow-up examinations for 18 months.

RESULTS Sufficient decompression was achieved in the full-endoscopic uniportal technique. One patient required revision due to secondary bleeding, and another exhibited persistent deterioration on myelopathy. No other serious complications were observed. All but one patient experienced regression or improvement of their symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS The full-endoscopic uniportal technique with an interlaminar, extraforaminal, or transthoracic retropleural approach was found to be a sufficient and minimally invasive method. To cover the entire range of thoracic disc herniations and stenosis within the criteria named, all full-endoscopic approaches are required