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  • Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine x
  • By Author: Johnson, J. Patrick x
  • By Author: Oskouian, Rod J. x
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Rod J. Oskouian and J. Patrick Johnson

Object. The purpose of this clinical study was to evaluate prospectively surgical and neurological outcomes after endoscopic thoracic disc surgery.

Methods. The authors assessed the following quantifiable outcome data in 46 patients: operative time, blood loss, duration of chest tube insertion, narcotic use, hospital length of stay (LOS), and long-term follow-up neurological function and pain-related symptoms.

In patients who presented with myelopathy there was a postoperative improvement of two Frankel grades. Pain related to radiculopathy was improved by 75% and in one patient it worsened postoperatively. The authors also present operative data, surgical outcomes, and complications.

Conclusions. Thoracoscopic discectomy can be used to achieve acceptable results. It has several distinct advantages such as reduced postoperative pain, morbidity, and LOS compared with traditional open procedures.

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Rod J. Oskouian Jr. and J. Patrick Johnson

Object. Anterior approaches in thoracic and lumbar spinal surgery have potentially serious vascular injury—related complications. In this study the authors evaluate the incidence of vascular complications in anterior approaches to the thoracic and lumbar spine in cases requiring reconstructive surgery.

Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 207 patients who underwent anterior thoracic and lumbar spinal reconstructive surgery during the period from 1992 through 1999 to determine the incidence, causes, and management of vascular complications.

Overall, the incidence of vascular complications following reconstructive spinal surgery was 5.8% (12 patients) and the mortality rate was 1% (two patient deaths). In seven patients (3.4%), direct vascular injuries developed as a result of surgical techniques or error; one patient died as a result. Five patients (2.4%) developed deep venous thromboses, and one patient in this subgroup died of pulmonary embolism.

Conclusions. Vascular injury to the great vessels is a known and potentially serious complication associated with anterior spinal reconstructive procedures. The authors found, however, that the incidence is relatively low in cases in which venous injuries occurred acutely and arterial injuries presented in a delayed fashion.