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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 158-162

Surgical treatment of thoracic disc herniations using a modified transfacet approach

1 Shandong University, Ji'nan; Department of Orthopaedics, Jimo people's Hospital, Qing'dao, China
2 Department of Orthopaedics, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Ji'nan, China

Correspondence Address:
Yanping Zheng
Department of Orthopaedics, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, Ji'nan 250012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.128756

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Background: Ideal surgical treatment for thoracic disc herniation (TDH) is controversial due to variations in patient presentation, pathology, and possible surgical approach. Althougth discectomy may lead to improvements in neurologic function, it can be complicated by approach related morbidity. Various posterior surgical approaches have been developed to treate TDH, but the gold standard remains transthoracic decompression. Certain patients have comorbidities and herniation that are not optimally treated with an anterior approach. A transfacet pedicle approach was first described in 1995, but outcomes and complications have not been well described. The aim of this work was to evaluate the clinical effect and complications in a consecutive series of patients with symptomatic thoracic disc herniations undergoing thoracic discectomy using a modified transfacet approach. Materials and Methods: 33 patients with thoracic disc herniation were included in this study. Duration of the disease was from 12 days to 36 months, with less than 1 month in 13 patients. Of these, 15 patients were diagnosed with simple thoracic disc herniation, 6 were associated with ossified posterior longitudinal ligament, and 12 with ossified or hypertrophied yellow ligament. A total of 45 discs were involved. All the herniated discs and the ossified posterior longitudinal ligaments were excised using a modified transfacet approach. Laminectomy and replantation were performed for patients with ossified or hypertrophied yellow ligament. The screw-rod system was used on both sides in 14 patients and on one side in l9 patients. Results: 29 patients were followed up for an average of 37 months (range 12-63 months) and 4 patients were lost to followup. Evaluation was based on Epstein and Schwall criteria.5 15 were classified as excellent and 10 as good, accounting for 86.21% (25/29); 2 patients were classified as improved and 2 as poor. All the patients recovered neurologically after surgery. A total of 25 patients had significantly improved motor function from 3 to 6 months after surgery and 10 patients had slow recovery 6 months after surgery.. Of the three patients with postoperative complications, two had exacerbated preexisting defects and one had implant failure. Postoperative computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging showed that all patients had well fused replanted lamina and completely decompressed canal. Conclusion: Thoracic discectomy using a modified transfacet approach can significantly improve the clinical outcomes.

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