Paramedian Wiltse Approach for Giant Paraspinal Lumbar Schwannoma: Technical Note and Alternative Approaches

Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown). 2022 Aug 1;23(2):e95-e101. doi: 10.1227/ons.0000000000000260. Epub 2022 May 9.


Background: Paraspinal lumbar schwannomas are primarily located outside of the spinal canal with minimal extension into the neural foramen. Approaching these tumors through a traditional posterior approach can be challenging given their lateral location to the spine and is likely to require extensive bony removal and potential destabilization of the spine. Alternatives approaches have been identified that may circumvent the need for extensive bony removal.

Objective: To examine the use of the paramedian Wiltse approach for giant extraspinal tumors and compare the approach with other nonposterior approaches.

Methods: We present 2 cases in which the paramedian Wiltse approach is used to effectively approach large paraspinal schwannomas and achieve complete tumor resection without destabilization of the spine.

Results: The paramedian Wiltse approach along with expandable retractors systems were able to achieve complete resection of the giant paraspinal schwannomas. Neural preservation was able to be achieved in one case which was facilitated by the exposure achieved through the posterior paramedian corridor that allowed for visualization of the proximal and distal ends of the tumor.

Conclusion: The paramedian Wiltse approach is an ideal approach to target large extraspinal schwannomas for complete resection and potential neural preservation without the need for destabilization of the spine.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neurilemmoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Neurilemmoma* / surgery
  • Spine