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Minimally Invasive Lateral Corpectomy of the Thoracolumbar Spine: A Case Series of 20 Patients


Study design

Retrospective case series.


To report our experience with corpectomy of the thoracolumbar (TL) spine through a minimally invasive lateral retropleural or retroperitoneal approach.


This is a retrospective case series of 20 consecutive patients who underwent minimally invasive TL corpectomy and spinal reconstruction. Electronic medical records were reviewed for demographic, operative, and clinical outcome data.


Between 2015 and 2019, 20 consecutive cases of minimally invasive TL corpectomy were performed, comprising 12 men (60%) and 8 women (40%) with a mean age of 54.3 years. Indications for surgery were infection (n = 6, 30%), metastatic disease (n = 2, 10%), fracture (n = 6, 30%), and calcified disc herniation (n = 6, 30%). Partial and complete corpectomy was performed in 5 patients (25%) and 15 patients (75%), respectively. Mean operative time and estimated blood loss was 276.2 minutes and 558.4 mL, respectively. Mean length of stay from admission and surgery were 14.6 and 11.4 days, respectively. Mean length of stay from surgery for elective cases was 4.2 days. Mean follow-up time was 330.4 days. Visual analogue scale score improved from 7.7 to 4.5 (P < .01). There were a total of 3 postoperative complications in 2 patients, including 1 mortality for urosepsis. One patient had revision spinal surgery for adjacent segment disease.


Corpectomy and reconstruction of the TL spine is feasible and safe using a minimally invasive lateral retropleural or retroperitoneal approach. Since this is a relatively new technique, more studies are needed to compare the short- and long-term radiographic and clinical outcomes between minimally invasive versus open corpectomy of the TL spine.

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