Video-assisted thoracoscopic treatment of spinal lesions in the thoracolumbar junction

T. J. Huang, R. W W Hsu, H. P. Liu, K. Y. Hsu, Y. S. Liao, H. N. Shih, Y. J. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The endoscopic treatment of spinal lesions in the thoracolumbar junction (T11-L2) poses a great challenge to the surgeon. From November 1, 1995 to December 31, 1996, we successfully used a combination of video-assisted thoracoscopy and conventional spinal instruments to treat 38 patients with anterior spinal lesions. Twelve of them had lesions in the thoracolumbar junction. Methods: The so-called extended manipulating channel method was used to perform vertebral biopsy, discectomy, decompressive corpectomy, interbody fusions, and/or internal fixations in these patients. The size of the thoracoscopic portals was greater than usual in order to allow conventional spinal instruments and a thoracoscope to enter the chest cavity freely and be manipulated by techniques similar to those used in standard open surgical procedures. In this series, the procedures were performed by using either a three-portal approach (2.5-3.5 cm) or a modified two-portal technique involving a 5-6 cm larger incision and a small one for introducing the scope. Results: None of the operations resulted in injury to the great vessels, internal organs, or spinal cord. The total time for the operation ranged from 1.5 to 4.5 h (average, 3); and the total blood loss ranged from 50 to 3000 cc (average, 1050). One patient was converted to an open procedure due to severe pleural adhesion. Complications included two instances of transient intercostal neuralgia, one superfical wound infection, and one residual pneumothorax. Conclusions: The video-assisted technique with the extended manipulating channel method presented in this report simplifies thoracoscopic spinal surgery in the thoracolumbar junction and makes it easier. It avoids division of the diaphragm, removal of the rib, and wide spread of the intercostal space, and it allows greater control of intraoperative vessel bleeding. Using this technique, the number of portals required during the procedure can be reduced. In addition, the technique reduces the endoscopic materials required, thus lowering overall cost. It is an effective and promising approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1189-1193
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Spinal lesions
  • Thoracolumbar junction
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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