Thoracoscopic surgery for thoracic disc herniation

J Neurosurg Sci. 2011 Dec;55(4):391-5.


Technical improvements in endoscopy have had a major effect in the practice of minimally invasive surgery, which is preferable to more invasive surgical procedures for central and hard thoracic disc herniation. Eleven patients underwent surgery between 2002 and 2008. Data was collected from self-reporting questionnaires completed by the patient at each visit before surgery and after surgery at 3,6,12 and 24 months. The questionnaires included in the study were the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire and a visual analog scale(VAS) for the evaluation of pain. In all eleven patients, the thoracoscopic approach was technically performed satisfactorily. There was a significant initial improvement in both the Oswestry score and the VAS pain score at up to nine months(P<0.05). The average relative difference in the Oswestry and VAS score was not significant at 12 and 24 months. The complication rate(pleurisy and lung contusion) in our small study was 18%, which compares favorably with the literature. Video assisted thoracic spine surgery (VATS) clearly provides a minimally invasive and effective alternative to open thoracic surgery. A surgeon must be familiar with the surgical anatomy and the endoscopic techniques to ensure an optimal surgical outcome. Hence, that is one limitation in the practice of thoracoscopic discectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diskectomy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Thoracoscopy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome