Single-stage removal of thoracic dumbbell tumors from a posterior approach only with costotransversectomy

Yonsei Med J. 2012 May;53(3):611-7. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2012.53.3.611.


Purpose: Thoracic dumbbell tumors are relatively rare, usually arising from neurogenic elements. Methods for surgical removal thereof remain controversial. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the surgical results of a single-stage posterior approach with laminectomy and costotransversectomy only for the management of thoracic dumbbell tumors.

Materials and methods: Eight cases of thoracic large dumbbell tumor were analyzed retrospectively: seven men and one woman (mean age, 49 years). Pathologic findings included schwannoma in five patients, neurofibroma in two patients (Recklinghausen in one patient), and ganglioneuroma in one patient. All patients underwent single-stage removal of dumbbell tumors by a posterior approach followed by laminectomy and costotransversectomy combined with instrumentation. Clinical and radiologic outcomes were reviewed, thereafter.

Results: Operative time ranged from 185 to 420 minutes (mean, 313 minutes), with estimated blood loss ranging from 71 to 1830 mL (mean, 658 mL). Postoperative complications included atelectasis in one case. All patients had tumors successfully removed with no neurological deterioration. Spinal deformities were not observed in any patients at the last follow-up (mean, 52 months), with instrumentation.

Conclusion: Single-stage surgery with laminectomy and costotransversectomy may be useful for removing thoracic dumbbell tumors without a combined anterior approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / surgery*