Background: Surgery for ventrally seated thoracic tumors requires an anatomically specific approach that is distinct from cervical or lumbar spinal cord surgery as the narrower spinal canal of the thoracic spinal cord makes it sensitive to surgical procedures. However, reports describing this operative technique are few. To obtain a wide operative field and minimize thoracic spinal cord retraction, we employed a posterolateral transpedicular approach in ventral-located tumors and investigated the efficacy and limitations of this technique.
Method: Eighteen patients with lesions (meningioma or neurinoma) located in the ventral intradural thoracic region were surgically treated between 2009 and 2014. The relationship among the clinical outcome, tumor location, and postoperative spinal alignment was analyzed.
Results: Postoperative neurological function improved in all patients, namely those with meningioma (p = 0.012) and schwannoma (p = 0.018). One patient who underwent removal of two facet joints suffered a postoperative compression fracture. Removal of two facet joints and pedicles resulted in a worsening of spinal alignment (p = 0.03), while this was not the case for the removal of one facet joint and pedicle (p = 0.72).
Conclusions: This case series clarified the benefits of the posterolateral transpedicular approach for resection of ventral intradural extramedullary tumors. Removal of one pedicle and facet joint seems to be more beneficial.
Keywords: Spinal cord tumor; Surgical approach; Thoracic region; Transpedicular approach; Ventral intradural lesion.