Mini-open Lateral Retropleural Approach for Symptomatic Thoracic Disk Herniations

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Surgeries for symptomatic thoracic disk herniations (TDH) remain challenging.


A mini-open lateral retropleural approach is described and the clinical outcomes are reported.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 23 patients underwent mini-open lateral retropleural diskectomy. Patients were placed in a lateral position. A 5-cm lateral incision was made followed by resection of the rib after careful dissection of its undersurface from the endothoracic fascia. The fascia was incised and separated from parietal pleura to widen the retropleural space. The rib head was removed followed by a pedicle resection below the TDH to expose the dura. A posterior partial corpectomy above and below the disk was performed to create a space ventral to the TDH, which was later dissected away from the dura and removed.


Fourteen males and 9 females comprised the clinical cohort. Five presented with axial back pain, 7 with radicular pain and 11 with myelopathy. All but 2 disks were successfully removed. The mean blood loss was 214cc and the mean hospital stay was 5.3 days. There was no mortality or new neurological deficits. The mean follow-up was 15.4 months.


Mini-open lateral retropleural approach is safe and effective to remove symptomatic TDH with minimal morbidities and fast patient recovery.

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