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1.  Transdural Nerve Rootlet Entrapment in the Intervertebral Disc Space through Minimal Dural Tear : Report of 4 Cases 
Four patients underwent lumbar surgery. In all four patients, the dura was minimally torn during the operation. However, none exhibited signs of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leakage. In each case, a few days after the operation, the patient suddenly experienced severe recurring pain in the leg. Repeat magnetic resonance imaging showed transdural nerve rootlets entrapped in the intervertebral disc space. On exploration, ventral dural tears and transdural nerve rootlet entrapment were confirmed. Midline durotomy, herniated rootlet repositioning, and ventral dural tear repair were performed, and patients' symptoms improved after rootlet repositioning. Even with minimal dural tearing, nerve rootlets may become entrapped, resulting in severe recurring symptoms. Therefore, the dural tear must be identified and repaired during the first operation.
PMCID: PMC3579084  PMID: 23441074
Nerve rootlet entrapment; Lumbar disc herniation; Laminectomy; Discectomy; Dura tear; Dura repair
2.  Unilateral Paramedian Transpedicular Approach for Repair of Anterior Transdural Spinal Cord Herniation: Report of a Case and Literature Review 
Asian Spine Journal  2012;6(1):55-59.
Idiopathic spinal cord herniation is a rare but potentially treatable cause of thoracic myelopathy. The rarity and variable clinical presentation often results in missed diagnosis and delay in treatment. Posterior midline approach with laminectomy has been the most common approach performed for spinal cord herniation in cases described in the literature. A posterior approach is limited by the danger of retracting the spinal cord and difficulty visualizing the dural defect. Considering the anterior location of the dural defect, a posterolateral allows for a more ventral view without spinal cord manipulation. We report a rare case of idiopathic spinal cord herniation which was managed by unilateral paramedian transpedicular approach with an excellent clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC3302916  PMID: 22439089
Spinal cord herniation; Surgery; Management; Thoracic spine
3.  Posterior transdural discectomy: a new approach for the removal of a central thoracic disc herniation 
European Spine Journal  2011;21(4):623-628.
The optimal surgical approach for thoracic disc herniation remains a matter of debate, especially for central disc herniation. In this paper, we present a new technique to remove central thoracic disc herniation, the posterior transdural approach, and report a series of 13 cases operated on in this way at our institute.
Between September 2004 and October 2010, 13 patients with symptomatic central thoracic disc herniation were operated on, utilising this posterior transdural approach. All patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the thoracic spine before surgery. All patients were followed at our outpatient department for at least 3 months. In addition, all patients were interviewed in April 2009 and February 2011 to evaluate the final results. A seven-point Likert scale was applied and the Frankel score was determined preoperatively and postoperatively. Additionally, a postoperative MRI was obtained for all but two patients.
The most frequently involved levels were T10–11 and T12–L1. Median operative time was 210 min (range 140–360). Three patients experienced reversible complications. No patient required spinal fixation. The median duration of hospitalisation was 6 days (range 4–20 days). With a median follow-up of 18 months, symptoms improved in 12 patients (92%), including the three patients with complications. One patient was unchanged (8%), while none of the patients experienced worsening of symptoms.
The posterior transdural approach is well tolerated by the patient and has a relatively high success rate. It is a relatively simple and safe procedure, suitable for the operative treatment of almost all types of thoracic disc herniation, but especially the centrally located disc herniation.
PMCID: PMC3326131  PMID: 21947869
Thoracic disc herniation; Posterior approaches; Transdural
4.  Oblique paraspinal approach for thoracic disc herniations using tubular retractor with robotic holder: a technical note 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(12):2620-2625.
Symptomatic thoracic disc herniations (TDHs) are uncommon and can be surgically treated. Although transthoracic decompression is considered the gold standard, it is associated with significant comorbidities. In particular, approach via a posterior laminectomy has been associated with poor results. Several strategies have been developed for the resection of TDHs without manipulating the spinal cord. We describe a minimally invasive technique by using 3-D navigation and tubular retractors with the aid of a robotic holder via an oblique paraspinal approach.
Materials and Methods
The 20-mm working tube via an oblique trajectory through the fascia provides a good surgical field for thoracic discectomy through a microscope. We present our first five patients with TDHs operated using this minimally invasive approach.
Neurological symptoms were improved postoperatively, and there were no surgical complications. There was no instability or recurrence during the follow-up period.
The oblique paraspinal approach may offer an alternative surgical option for treating TDHs.
PMCID: PMC3508237  PMID: 22825631
Oblique paraspinal approach; O-arm; Robotic arm; Thoracic disc herniation; Tubular retractor
5.  Anterior thoracic foraminotomy through mini-thoracotomy for the treatment of giant thoracic disc herniations 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(Suppl 2):212-220.
Study design
A retrospective review of a case series.
Giant thoracic disc herniations remain a surgical challenge and historically have been associated with significant complications. While neurological outcomes have improved with the abandonment of decompressive laminectomy, the attempt to minimize surgical complications and associated morbidities continues through less-invasive approaches. With the current study, we describe a surgical technique to treat giant thoracic disc herniations while minimizing approach-related morbidity.
Demographic and radiographic data; clinical outcome and perioperative complications were retrospectively analysed for patients with single-level giant thoracic disc herniations who underwent mini-thoracotomy and selective microsurgical anterior spinal cord decompression without instrumented fusion.
Between 2007 and 2012, 7 consecutive patients with giant thoracic disc herniations were treated (average age of 53 years; range 45–66 years). The average canal encroachment was 73.2 % (range 40–92 %) with 5 grossly calcified discs of which 3 had transdural components. All patients had gradual myelopathic progression. The average Nurick grade was 3.5 (range 2–5). All patients were successfully treated with anterior microsurgical decompression without instrumentation. Uninstrumented fusion with rib graft was performed only in one patient with advanced degenerative changes. Average time of surgery was 337.8 min (range 220–450 min). The average length of hospital stay was 7.4 days (range 6–11 days). The average neurological status at follow-up (average 23.5 months; range 9–36 months) using the modified Nurick grading scale was 1.28. No vertebral collapse or loss of spinal alignment developed. There were no neurological complications. One patient developed an acute headache and diplopia, 10 days after surgery, following sneezing associated with a post-operative thoracic cerebrospinal fluid leakage requiring revision. Two patients suffered an approach-related complication in form of intercostal neuralgia; one was persistent.
Anterior decompression using a mini-transthoracic approach provides sufficient exposure for microsurgical decompression of giant thoracic disc herniations without disrupting the stability of the spine. Microsurgical decompression without instrumentation does not appear to lead to vertebral collapse or spinal malalignment.
PMCID: PMC3326080  PMID: 22430542
Giant thoracic disc herniation; Less-invasive surgery; Transthoracic approach; Spinal cord compression; Spinal microsurgery
6.  Idiopathic Spinal Cord Herniation: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
Idiopathic spinal cord herniation (ISCH) is a rare cause of progressive myelopathy frequently present in Brown-Séquard syndrome. Preoperative diagnosis can be made with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Many surgical techniques have been applied by various authors and are usually reversible by surgical treatment.
Case report and review of the literature.
A 45-year-old woman with Brown-Séquard syndrome underwent thoracic MRI, which revealed transdural spinal cord herniation at T8 vertebral body level. During surgery the spinal cord was reduced and the ventral dural defect was restorated primarily and reinforced with a thin layer of subdermal fat. The dural defect was then closed with interrupted stitches.
Although neurologic status improved postoperatively, postsurgical MRI demonstrated swelling and abnormal T2-signal intensity in the reduced spinal cord. Review of the English language literature revealed 100 ISCH cases.
ISCH is a rare clinical entity that should be considered in differential diagnosis of Brown-Séquard syndrome, especially among women in their fifth decade of life. Outcome for patients who initially had Brown-Séquard syndrome was significantly better than for patients who presented with spastic paralysis. Although progression of neurologic deficits can be very slow, reduction of the spinal cord and repair of the defect are crucial in stopping or reversing the deterioration.
PMCID: PMC2647506  PMID: 19264054
Brown-Séquard syndrome; Myelopathy; Spinal cord herniation, Dural defect; Spasticity; Duraplasty; Pseudomeningocele
7.  The Specific Sagittal Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Intradural Extra-Arachnoid Lumbar Disc Herniation 
Case Reports in Medicine  2012;2012:383451.
Intradural extra-arachnoid lumbar disc herniation is a rare disease. Few MRI findings have been reported. We experienced an intradural extra-arachnoid lumbar disc herniation. We reviewed the preoperative MRI findings. Lumbar spine T2-weighted sagittal MRI showed that one line of the ventral dura was divided into two by a disc herniation. We speculated that the two lines comprised the dura and arachnoid and that a disc herniation existed between them. We believe that division of the ventral dural line on T2-weighted sagittal images is a characteristic finding of intradural extra-arachnoid lumbar disc herniation. The division of ventral dural line seemed to be a “Y,” and, thus, we called it the “Y sign.” The “Y sign” may be useful for diagnosing intradural extra-arachnoid lumbar disc herniation.
PMCID: PMC3295378  PMID: 22431932
8.  Chronic dura erosion and intradural lumbar disc herniation: CT and MR imaging and intraoperative photographs of a transdural sequestrectomy 
European Spine Journal  2011;21(Suppl 4):453-457.
A 47-year-old male with a history of recurrent low-back pain presented with acute left radiculopathy.
Material and methods
The CT and MR scans showed a severe osteochondrosis of the L4/5 segment, a broad protrusion of the disc annulus and extrusion of nucleus material into the spinal canal on the left side.
The caudally dislocated sequester pieces were visualised intradurally and the intraoperative finding confirmed this rare pathology. After dorsal durotomy-free sequester material was found between the nerve rootlets within the subarachnoid space and altogether ten fragments were removed. Further transdural exploration visualised ventrally a round dura defect surrounded by a thickened arachnoid layer with enlarged veins as a sign of a chronic erosive process.
Patients history, imaging and the intraoperative findings support the thesis, that chronic degenerative disc disease and adhesions between the posterior longitudinal ligament and the dura are the predisposing pathogenetic factors for an intradural disc herniation.
Intradural disc herniation is a rare condition and requires durotomy to remove the pathology. Therefore an actual high resolution MRI is mandatory in all cases of intraspinal space occupying lesions.
PMCID: PMC3369034  PMID: 22109565
Lumbar disc herniation; Intradural sequester; Transdural sequestrectomy; Dura erosion
9.  Analysis of hard thoracic herniated discs: review of 18 cases operated by thoracoscopy 
European Spine Journal  2006;15(5):537-542.
The authors retrospectively reviewed a series of 18 hard thoracic herniated discs (HTHD) operated by thoracoscopy. Isolated cases of HTHD have been reported in the literature, but no series describing these lesions has been published. Seventy-two percent of the herniated discs were situated between T8 and T12. Fifty-six percent of the patients had radiographic sequelae of Scheuermann’s disease. Postoperatively, 83% had neurological improvement. In seven cases (39%), a plane separating the herniated disc and the dura mater was found surgically. In 11 patients, no separating plane was found during surgery. The lesion was intradural in three patients (17%) and adherent to the dura mater in eight (44%). Among these 11 patients, surgery was complicated by a dural tear in the first seven that led to a high risk of cerebrospinal fluid fistula: four of these seven patients had required surgical revision. In the last four, the zone of adhesion of the HTHD to the dura mater was preserved, successfully preventing dural tear
PMCID: PMC3489338  PMID: 16408236
Calcified thoracic disc herniation; MRI; Scheuermann; Thoracic spine; Thoracoscopy
10.  Circumspinal decompression and fusion through a posterior midline incision to treat central calcified thoracolumbar disc herniation: a minimal 2-year follow-up study with reconstruction CT 
European Spine Journal  2013;23(2):373-381.
There have been several surgical approaches used in the treatment of thoracolumbar disc herniation (TLDH) from T10/11 to L1/2. However, central calcified TLDH cases are still challenging to spine surgeons. The anterior transthoracic approaches and lateral/posterolateral approaches are all essentially performed from one side; thus, the compressive lesion and the dura matter on the other side of the spinal canal are not clearly visualized, predisposing the procedure to incomplete decompression or inadvertent cord manipulation. Moreover, a number of these approaches are technically demanding and require entry into the chest. The purpose of this study was to introduce a new surgical procedure—circumspinal decompression and fusion through a posterior midline incision—for the treatment of central calcified TLDH and to evaluate its surgical outcome.
In this study, 22 patients (15 males and 7 females; mean age 49 years) with central calcified TLDH underwent this procedure between April 2008 and April 2011. Altogether, 26 discs were excised, with two discs at T10/11, eight discs at T11/12, nine discs at T12/L1 and seven discs at L1/2. Of these patients, 16 returned for final follow-up, with a mean follow-up period of 41 months (range 24–57 months). Clinical outcomes, including operative time, blood loss, perioperative complications, post-operative time of hospitalization, neurological status improvement, extent of decompression, back pain, local spinal curvature and fusion, were investigated. The patients’ neurological status was evaluated by a modified Japanese Orthopedic Association scoring system of 11 points. Fusion and the extent of decompression were evaluated by reconstruction CT at final follow-up.
The mean operative time was 185 min, the mean blood loss was 896 ml and the mean post-operative hospitalization time was 8 days. Four patients suffered perioperative complications, but only two were related to dura violation and none involved the respiratory system. All of the 16 patients who returned for the final follow-up showed improvement, and evidence of improvement was found in five of the other six patients who did not return for final follow-up through telephone interview or earlier follow-up evaluations. Complete decompression was achieved in 12 of the 16 patients who returned for final follow-up. In the 16 patients who returned for final follow-up, back pain was significantly reduced and local spinal curvature remained unaltered. In addition, based on reconstruction CT images, solid fusion was observed in 15 of the 16 patients who returned for final follow-up.
The circumspinal decompression and fusion through a posterior midline incision procedure can be used to treat central calcified TLDH patients with neurological deficits. This method’s greatest advantage is that it is a highly effective and safe procedure for decompression. Although it is a major and destructive procedure, spinal stability was well maintained in most of the cases. In this era when minimally invasive spine surgeries like thoracoscopy have been in an upward trajectory, spine surgeons still should be made aware of this procedure.
PMCID: PMC3906463  PMID: 24097231
Thoracolumbar disc herniation; Circumspinal decompression
11.  Dorsal Extradural Lumbar Disc Herniation Causing Cauda Equina Syndrome : A Case Report and Review of Literature 
A 73-year-old male presented with a rare dorsally sequestrated lumbar disc herniation manifesting as severe radiating pain in both leg, progressively worsening weakness in both lower extremities, and urinary incontinence, suggesting cauda equina syndrome. Magnetic resonance imaging suggested the sequestrated disc fragment located in the extradural space at the L4-L5 level had surrounded and compressed the dural sac from the lateral to dorsal sides. A bilateral decompressive laminectomy was performed under an operating microscope. A large extruded disc was found to have migrated from the ventral aspect, around the thecal sac, and into the dorsal aspect, which compressed the sac to the right. After removal of the disc fragment, his sciatica was relieved and the patient felt strength of lower extremity improved.
PMCID: PMC2851086  PMID: 20379476
Lumbar disc herniation; Dorsal; Intradural; Migrated
12.  Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus thoracic spondylitis late after cervical spine surgery 
Hippokratia  2009;13(1):49-51.
Background: Spondylodiscitis is a known and serious complication of spinal surgery. A rare case of a late and remote thoracis spondrylitis due to methicillin resestant staphylococcus aureus following cervical surgery is presented.
Case report: A 50 year-old-male was treated for cervical degenerative disease via a combined anterior and posterior cervical approach (discectomy with fusion and laminectomy). Three years later a cervical epidural abscess was formed which wad treated successfully conservatively. After 18 months he developed spondylitis of the second thoracic vertebra. The patient was further treated surgically via a dorsolateral extracavitary thoracic approach. Laboratory analysis revealed Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) spondylitis sensitive to linezolid. Inflammation markers declined and clinical symptoms ameliorated. At 12-month follow-up the patient did not show any evidence of recurrence of the infection.
Conclusions: A high rate of suspicion must be maintained in patients presenting with signs of spinal infection and neurological impairment even many years after the initial operation. Optimal investigation and outcome require close clinical monitoring and a well coordinated multidisciplinary approach.
PMCID: PMC2633254  PMID: 19240822
spine surgery; myelopathy; spondylitis; infection; abscess; methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
13.  Combined intra-extracanal approach to lumbosacral disc herniations with bi-radicular involvement. Technical considerations from a surgical series of 15 cases 
European Spine Journal  2005;15(5):554-558.
Large lumbosacral disc herniations effacing both the paramedian and the foraminal area often cause double radicular compression. Surgical management of these lesions may be difficult. A traditional interlaminar approach usually brings into view only the paramedian portion of the intervertebral disc, unless the lateral bone removal is considerably increased. Conversely, the numerous far-lateral approaches proposed for removing foraminal or extraforaminal disc herniations would decompress the exiting nerve root only. Overall, these approaches share the drawback of controlling the neuroforamen on one side alone. A combined intra-extraforaminal exposure is a useful yet rarely reported approach. Over a 3-year period, 15 patients with bi-radicular symptoms due to large disc herniations of the lumbar spine underwent surgery through a combined intra-extracanal approach. A standard medial exposure with an almost complete hemilaminectomy of the upper vertebra was combined with an extraforaminal exposure, achieved by minimal drilling of the inferior facet joint, the lateral border of the pars interarticularis and the inferior margin of the superior transverse process. The herniated discs were removed using key maneuvers made feasible by working simultaneously on both operative windows. In all cases the disc herniation could be completely removed, thus decompressing both nerve roots. Radicular pain was fully relieved without procedure-related morbidity. The intra-extraforaminal exposure was particularly useful in identifying the extraforaminal nerve root early. Early identification was especially advantageous when periradicular scar tissue hid the nerve root from view, as it did in patients who had undergone previous surgery at the same site or had long-standing radicular symptoms. Controlling the foramen on both sides also reduced the risk of leaving residual disc fragments. A curved probe was used to push the disc material outside the foramen. In conclusion, specific surgical maneuvers made feasible by a simultaneous extraspinal and intraspinal exposure allow quick, safe and complete removal of lumbosacral disc herniations with paramedian and foraminal extension.
PMCID: PMC3489333  PMID: 15761707
Combined approach; Disc herniation; Foraminal; Lumbar
14.  Surgical resection without dural reconstruction of a lumbar meningioma in an elderly woman 
European Spine Journal  2009;18(Suppl 2):232-235.
Meningiomas of the spine occur in the thoracic spine in approximately 80%, followed in frequency by the cervical and lumbar regions. The treatment of spinal meningiomas is complete surgical resection. As intraspinal meningiomas are almost always adherent to the dura, extensive dural resection or diathermic treatment of the dural attachment is usually performed to prevent tumor recurrence. The authors present the case of lumbar spinal meningioma in 82-year-old woman. Successful resection with preservation of the dura mater using the technique of Saito et al. (Spine 26:1805-1808, 2001) is described: After lumbar laminectomy a small incision was made in the surface of the spinal dura. The dura mater was separated into its inner and outer layers, and the tumor was resected with inner layer alone, preserving the outer layer. The outer layer is simply closed to achieve a watertight seal. The pathologic diagnosis was metaplastic (osseous) meningioma. Almost full recovery of the neurologic deficit was attained. Neither complication nor tumor recurrence has occurred in the 5 years since surgery. Dural preservation during surgical resection of spinal meningioma obviates the need for dural reconstruction and should reduce surgical morbidity. However, the patient should be followed long-term to watch for recurrence.
PMCID: PMC2899553  PMID: 19219468
Dural preservation; Elderly; Lumbar spinal meningioma; Minimally invasive; Surgical treatment
15.  Herniated intervertebral disc associated with a lumbar spine dislocation as a cause of Cauda Equina syndrome: a case report 
European Spine Journal  2006;15(6):1015-1018.
To report a case of Cauda Equina syndrome with the completion of the paralysis after the reduction of a L4L5 dislocation due to a herniated disc. Although several articles have described a post-traumatic disc herniation in the cervical spinal canal, this is not well known in the lumbar region. A 30-year-old man was admitted to the emergency room with blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen with multiple contusions plus a dislocation of L4-L5 with an incomplete neurological injury. After an emergency open reduction and instrumentation of the dislocation, the patient developed a complete cauda equina syndrome that has resulted from an additional compression of the dural sac by a herniated disc. In a dislocation of the lumbar spine, MRI study is mandatory to check the state of the spinal canal prior to surgical reduction. A posterior approach is sufficient for reduction of the vertebral displacement, however an intra-canal exploration for bony or disc material should be systematically done.
PMCID: PMC3489452  PMID: 16614853
Cauda equine; Herniated disc; Lumbar dislocation; MRI; Reduction
16.  Percutaneous Thoracic Intervertebral Disc Nucleoplasty: Technical Notes from 3 Patients with Painful Thoracic Disc Herniations 
Asian Spine Journal  2011;5(1):15-19.
Symptomatic thoracic disc herniation is an uncommon condition and early surgical approaches were associated with significant morbidity and even mortality. We are the first to describe the technique of percutaneous thoracic nucleoplasty in three patients with severe radicular pain due to thoracic disc herniation. Two of the patients experienced more than 75% pain relief and one patient experienced more than 50% pain relief. Post-procedural pain relief was maintained up to an average of 10 months after nucleoplasty. One patient with preoperative neurological signs improved postoperatively. There were no reported complications in all three patients. In view of the reduced morbidity and shorter operating time, thoracic intervertebral disc nucleoplasty can be considered in patients with pain due to thoracic disc herniation, with no calcification of the herniated disc, and in patients who may be otherwise be unfit for conventional surgery.
PMCID: PMC3047894  PMID: 21386942
Thoracic intervertebral disc herniation; Thoracic nucleoplasty; Percutaneous thoracic disc cannulation; Minimally invasive procedures
17.  Three-level thoracic disc herniation: Case report and review of the literature 
European Spine Journal  1997;6(1):74-76.
A rare case of three-level thoracic disc herniation with associated neurological impairment, including motor, sensor and urinary disturbances, is reported. The diagnosis and localization of the level of cord compression were mainly based on the clinical examination supported by the findings of magnetic resonance imaging and somatosensory evoked potentials. An anterolateral transthoracic approach at the uppermost affected level was selected for removal of all herniated discs, with the use of a surgical microscope; the resected rib was used for intervertebral fusion. An improvement in the patient's subjective and neurological condition was already apparent a few months after the operation, and solid fusion was roentgenographically found at all operated levels. The use of a surgical microscope allows complete removal of the herniated disc while avoiding wide vertebrectomy and associated iatrogenic damage to the spinal cord.
PMCID: PMC3454635  PMID: 9093831
Thoracic disc herniation; Thoracotomy
18.  Surgical treatment of thoracic disc herniations via tailored posterior approaches 
European Spine Journal  2011;20(10):1684-1690.
We present clinical findings, radiological characteristics and surgical modalities of various posterior approaches to thoracic disc herniations and report the clinical results in 27 consecutive patients. Within an 8-year period 27 consecutive patients (17 female, 10 male) aged 30–83 years (mean 53 years.) were surgically treated for 28 symptomatic herniated thoracic discs in our department. Six of these lesions (21%) were calcified. In all cases surgery was performed via individually tailored posterior approaches. We evaluated the pre- and postoperative clinical status and the complication rate in a retrospective study. Nearly one half of the lesions (46.4%) were located at the three lowest thoracic segments. Clinical symptoms included back pain or radicular pain (77.8%), altered sensitivity (77.8%), weakness (40.7%), impaired gait (51.9%) or bladder dysfunction (22%). Costotransversectomy was performed in 8 patients, 1 lateral extracavitary approach, 2 foraminotomies, 15 transfacet and/or transpedicular approaches and 2 interlaminar approaches were used for removing the pathologies. After a mean follow-up of 38.6 months (3–100 months), complete normalization or reduction of local pain was recorded in 87% of the patients and of radicular pain in 70% of the cases, increased motor strength could be achieved in 55%, sensitivity improved in 76.2% and improvement of myelopathy was noted in 71.4%. Two patients suffered from postoperative impairment of sensory deficits, which in one case was discrete. The overall recovery rate within the modified JOA score was 39.5%. In 1 patient, two revisions were required because of instability and a persisting osteophyte, respectively. The rate of major complications was 7.1% (2/28). Surgical treatment of thoracic disc herniations via posterior approaches tailored to the individual patient produces satisfying results referring to clinical outcome. Posterior approaches remain a viable alternative for a large proportion of patients with symptomatic thoracic disc herniations.
PMCID: PMC3175880  PMID: 21533597
Thoracic disc herniation; Posterolateral approach; Transthoracic approach; Thoracoscopic discectomy; Costotransversectomy
19.  Endoscopic Transforaminal Thoracic Foraminotomy and Discectomy for the Treatment of Thoracic Disc Herniation 
Minimally Invasive Surgery  2013;2013:264105.
Thoracic disc herniation is a relatively rare yet challenging-to-diagnose condition. Currently there is no universally accepted optimal surgical treatment for symptomatic thoracic disc herniation. Previously reported surgical approaches are often associated with high complication rates. Here we describe our minimally invasive technique of removing thoracic disc herniation, and report the primary results of a series of cases. Between January 2009 and March 2012, 13 patients with symptomatic thoracic disc herniation were treated with endoscopic thoracic foraminotomy and discectomy under local anesthesia. A bone shaver was used to undercut the facet and rib head for foraminotomy. Discectomy was achieved by using grasper, radiofrequency, and the Holmium-YAG laser. We analyzed the clinical outcomes of the patients using the visual analogue scale (VAS), MacNab classification, and Oswestry disability index (ODI). At the final follow up (mean: 17 months; range: 6–41 months), patient self-reported satisfactory rate was 76.9%. The mean VAS for mid back pain was improved from 9.1 to 4.2, and the mean ODI was improved from 61.0 to 43.8. One complication of postoperative spinal headache occurred during the surgery and the patient was successfully treated with epidural blood patch. No other complications were observed or reported during and after the surgery.
PMCID: PMC3880763  PMID: 24455232
20.  Posteriorly migrated thoracic disc herniation: a case report 
Posterior epidural migration of thoracic disc herniation is extremely rare but may occur in the same manner as in the lumbar spine.
Case presentation
A 53-year-old Japanese man experienced sudden onset of incomplete paraplegia after lifting a heavy object. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a posterior epidural mass compressing the spinal cord at the T9-T10 level. The patient underwent emergency surgery consisting of laminectomy at T9-T10 with right medial facetectomy, removal of the mass lesion, and posterior instrumented fusion. Histological examination of the mass lesion yielded findings consistent with sequestered disc material. His symptoms resolved, and he was able to resume walking without a cane 4 weeks after surgery.
Pre-operative diagnosis of posterior epidural migration of herniated thoracic disc based on magnetic resonance imaging alone may be overlooked, given the rarity of this pathology. However, this entity should be considered among the differential diagnoses for an enhancing posterior thoracic extradural mass.
PMCID: PMC3582544  PMID: 23402642
Intervertebral disc herniation; Posterior migration; Thoracic spine
21.  Surgical Treatment of T1-2 Disc Herniation with T1 Radiculopathy: A Case Report with Review of the Literature 
Asian Spine Journal  2012;6(3):199-202.
The prevalence of intervertebral disc herniation (IDH) of the thoracic spine is rare compared to the cervical or lumbar spine. In particular, IDH of the upper thoracic spine is extremely rare. We report the case of T1-2 IDH and its treatment, with a literature review. A 37-year-old male patient visited our hospital due to radiating pain at the left upper extremity and weakness of grip power. In cervical spine magnetic resonance images, T1-2 disc space showed herniated disc material and compressed T1 root was identified. Laminoforaminotomy was performed with a posterior approach. The radiating pain and weakness of grip power improved immediately after the surgery. Of patients who show radiating pain or numbness at the medial aspect of forearm, or weakness of intrinsic muscle of hand, can be suspected to have T1 radiculopathy. A detailed physical examination and a radiologic evaluation including this area should be required for the T1 radiculopathy.
PMCID: PMC3429611  PMID: 22977700
Thoracic Vertebrae; Intervertebral Disc; Radiculopathy; Laminotomy
22.  Radicular interdural lumbar disc herniation 
European Spine Journal  2009;19(Suppl 2):149-152.
Intraradicular lumbar disc herniation is a rare complication of disc disease that is generally diagnosed only during surgery. The mechanism for herniated disc penetration into the intradural space is not known with certainty, but adhesion between the radicular dura and the posterior longitudinal ligament was suggested as the most important condition. The authors report the first case of an intraradicular lumbar disc herniation without subdural penetration; the disc hernia was lodged between the two radicular dura layers. The patient, a 34-year-old soldier, was admitted with a 12-month history of low back pain and episodic left sciatica. Neurologic examination showed a positive straight leg raising test on the left side without sensory, motor or sphincter disturbances. Spinal CT scan and MRI exploration revealed a left posterolateral osteophyte formation at the L5–S1 level with an irregular large disc herniation, which migrated superiorly. An intradural extension was suspected. A left L5 hemilaminectomy and S1 foraminotomy were performed. The exploration revealed a large fragment of disc material located between the inner and outer layers of the left S1 radicular dura. The mass was extirpated without cerebrospinal fluid outflow. The postoperative course was uneventful. Radicular interdural lumbar disc herniation should be suspected when a swollen, hard and immobile nerve root is present intraoperatively.
PMCID: PMC2899617  PMID: 19888608
Intradural disc herniation; Intraradicular lumbar disc; Magnetic resonance imaging; Spinal nerve root compression
23.  Posterior Clinoidectomy: Dural Tailoring Technique and Clinical Application 
Skull Base  2009;19(3):183-191.
The posterior clinoid process, a bony prominence at the superolateral aspect of the dorsum sellae, has a strategic importance in a transcavernous approach to basilar tip aneurysms. To further optimize this microsurgical technique during posterior clinoidectomy, we performed a cadaveric study of this regional anatomy, describe a technique called dural tailoring, and report initial results in the surgical treatment of upper basilar artery (BA) aneurysm. After 10 adult cadaver heads (silicone-injected) were prepared for dissection, a posterior clinoidectomy with dural tailoring was performed. The dura overlying the upper clivus was coagulated with bipolar electrocoagulation and incised. Stripping dura off the clivus and lateral reflection then exposed the ipsilateral posterior clinoid process and dorsum sellae, thus creating a dural flap. Posterior clinoidectomy with dural tailoring was then used in seven patients with upper BA aneurysms. Our stepwise modification of the posterior clinoidectomy with dural tailoring created a flap that afforded protection of the cavernous sinus and oculomotor nerve. During surgery, there were no recorded intraoperative injuries to neurovascular structures. One patient died postoperatively from morbidity related to severe-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage. Postoperative oculomotor nerve palsy occurred in 3 patients (43%). In all cases, the nerve was anatomically preserved and partial to complete recovery was recorded during the first postoperative year. This technique effectively provided exposure of retrosellar upper basilar aneurysms in seven patients (basilar tip 43% and superior cerebellar artery aneurysms 57%). Outcomes and safety are at least equivalent to or better than basilar aneurysm surgery performed without surgical adjuncts, presumably a less complex subset.
PMCID: PMC2702194  PMID: 19881898
Posterior clinoid; clinoidectomy; dural tailoring; basilar artery; oculomotor nerve
24.  Targeted CT-Guided Epidural Blood Patch for Treatment of Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension Due to Calcified Intradural Thoracic Disc Herniation 
Interventional Neuroradiology  2013;19(1):121-126.
Calcified thoracic intradural disc herniations have recently been reported as a cause of spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). We report successful treatment of SIH with a targeted CT-guided epidural blood patch.
A 57-year-old man presented to the emergency department with a two-week history of progressively debilitating headache. CT and MRI of the brain showed findings consistent with intracranial hypotension and MRI of the spine showed findings consistent with CSF leak. Subsequent CT myelogram of the thoracic spine confirmed the presence of CSF leak and calcified disc herniations at the T6-7, T7-8 and T8-9 levels indenting the ventral dura and spinal cord. The calcified disc herniation at T6-7 had an intradural component and was therefore the most likely site of the CSF leak. Under CT fluoroscopic guidance, a 20-gauge Tuohy needle was progressively advanced into the dorsal epidural space at T6-7. After confirmation of needle tip position, approximately 18cc of the patient's own blood was sterilely removed from an arm vein and slowly re-injected into the dorsal epidural space. With satisfactory achievement of clot formation, the procedure was terminated. The patient tolerated the procedure well. The next morning, his symptoms had completely resolved and he was neurologically intact. At five-week follow up, he was symptom-free.
Targeted epidural blood patch at the site of presumed CSF leak can be carried out in a safe and effective manner using CT fluoroscopic guidance and can be an effective alternative to open surgical management in selected patients.
PMCID: PMC3601609  PMID: 23472734
spontaneous intracranial hypotension, targeted epidural blood patch, thoracic disc herniation
25.  Posterior Epidural Migration of Thoracic Disc Fragment 
Migration of a disc fragment to the posterior epidural space is rare, especially in the thoracic spine. Only four such cases of posterior epidural migration of thoracic disc fragments have been reported. The authors report a case of 66-year-old man who presented with back pain and right leg weakness due to posterior epidural migration of thoracic disc fragment. The patient was successfully treated by laminectomy and partial facetectomy with disc removal.
PMCID: PMC2588224  PMID: 19096604
Thoracic disc herniation; Migration; Posterior epidural space; Magnetic resonance imaging

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