A wide variety of spinal intradural pathology traditionally has been treated from a midline posterior laminectomy using standard microsurgical techniques. This approach has been successful in treating the pathology; however, it carries a risk of postoperative complications including CSF leakage, wound infection, and spinal instability. The authors describe a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) approach to treating spinal intradural pathology with a low rate of postoperative complications.
Through a retrospective review of a prospectively collected surgical database, the authors identified 26 patients who underwent 27 surgeries via an MIS approach for intradural pathology of the spine. Using a tubular retractor system and an operative microscope, the authors were able to treat all patients with a unilateral, paramedian, and muscle-splitting technique. They then collected data regarding operative blood loss, length of stay, imaging characteristics, and outcomes.
Eight cervical, 8 thoracic, and 11 lumbar intradural pathological entities, which included 14 oncological lesions, 4 Chiari I malformations, 4 arachnoid cysts, 3 tethered cords, 1 syrinx, and 1 chronic visceral pain, were treated via an MIS approach. The average blood loss was 197 ml and the average hospital stay was 3 days. One patient had to return to the operating room for noninfectious wound dehiscence. One patient required reoperation 18 months after the initial surgery for recurrence of the initial pathology. There was no CSF leak, no infection, and no spinal instability associated with the initial surgery on follow-up.
Intradural spinal pathology can be safely and effectively treated with MIS approaches without an increased risk of neurological injury. This approach may also offer a reduced postoperative length of stay, risk of CSF leak, and risk of future spinal instability.