Minimally Invasive Approaches for Lumbosacral Plexus Schwannomas

Operative Neurosurgery 26:149–155, 2024

Lumbosacral plexus schwannomas (LSPSs) are benign, slow-growing tumors that arise from the myelin sheath of the lumbar or sacral plexus nerves. Surgery is the treatment of choice for symptomatic LSPSs. Conventional retroperitoneal or transabdominal approaches provide wide exposure of the lesion but are often associated with complications in the abdominal wall, lumbar or sacral plexus, ureter, and intraperitoneal organs. Advances in technology and minimally invasive (MIS) techniques have provided alternative approaches with reliable efficacy compared with traditional open surgery. We describe 3 MIS approaches using tubular retractor systems according to the lesion level.

METHODS: This was a multicenter, retrospective observational cohort study to evaluate the use of MIS tubular approaches for surgical resection of LSPSs. We included 23 lumbar and upper sacral plexus schwannomas. Clinical presentation, spinal level, surgical duration, degree of resection, days of hospitalization, pathological anatomy of the tumor, approach-related surgical difficulties, and outcomes were collected.

RESULTS: The posterior oblique approach was used in 43.5% of the cases, the transpsoas approach in 39.1%, and the transiliac in 17.4%. The mean operative time was 3.3 hours, and the mean hospitalization was 2.5 days. All tumors were WHO grade 1 schwannoma. Postoperative MRI confirms gross total resection in 91.3% of the patients. No patient requires instrumentation. The pros and cons of each approach were summarized.

CONCLUSION: The MIS approaches adapted to the lumbar level may improve surgeons’ comfort allowing a safe resection of retroperitoneal LSPS.