Transvertebral anterior key hole foraminotomy without fusion for the cervicothoracic junction

Acta Neurochir (2012) 154:1797–1802

Various surgical procedures have been used to repair disc herniations and osteophytes at the cervicothoracic junction. Among these procedures, transvertebral anterior foraminotomy without fusion is a relatively less invasive, safe and useful method, although the majority of spinal surgeons remain unfamiliar with this method. We describe the surgical procedure for a transvertebral anterior keyhole foraminotomy without fusion at the cervicothoracic junction, and we assess the middle-term clinical and radiological outcomes.

Methods Of 118 patients undergoing this surgery in our institute between 2007 and 2010, five (4.2 %) had C8 radiculopathy causing C7/T1 disc herniations or osteophytes. We studied five patients who underwent trans-C7 vertebral keyhole foraminotomy without fusion. We retrospectively examined clinical data, pre- and postoperative neurological status.

Results In all cases, surgical decompression was successfully achieved without difficulty when accessing the pathology. No complications related to the surgical procedure were reported. The follow-up period was 12– 28 (mean 20) months. In all patients, the visual analogue scale (VAS) due to radicular pain immediately decreased after the operation and did not increase thereafter. The mean VAS decreased from 7.8 (4.5–9.6) to 1.0 (0–2.1). The Cobb angle at C2-T1 in a neutral position improved from −12.6 (−2.8 to −24.7) degrees to −6.9 (4.2 to −25.4). The postoperative C7/T1 disc height decreased from 5.4 to 4.9 mm, indicating minimal loss.

Conclusions This procedure allows for direct access to the pathology and is less invasive. In this study, we clarified that this technique yields excellent radiological and clinical outcomes.

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