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Patrick Paullus, Taylor A. Wilson, Paul Lee, Arunprasad Gunasekaran, and Noojan Kazemi

In this video, the authors demonstrate a minimally invasive approach and resection of a paraspinal schwannoma. Using an expandable retractor, the authors were able to identify important adjacent bony landmarks and hence visualize and remove this peripheral nerve sheath tumor. While a tubular retractor is commonly used for interbody fusion procedures, the location of the tumor allowed this minimally invasive approach resulting in excellent access, minimal soft-tissue injury, and a short hospital stay. The authors present this approach as a less invasive and yet effective technique for resection of otherwise difficult-to-access nerve lesions.

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William Fuell, Lucas Bradley, Gresham T. Richter, Noojan Kazemi, Gregory Albert, Richard McCarthy, and Eylem Ocal

The authors report an unusual case of an odontoid synchondrosis fracture causing chronic translational anterior atlanto-axial subluxation and present a discussion of the unique management of this case. Traumatic translational anterior atlanto-axial subluxation is a rare manifestation within pediatrics. Patients with preexisting abnormalities in ligamentous or bony structures may present with unusual symptomatology, which could result in delay of treatment. A 6-year-old male patient with autism who presented with acute respiratory arrest was noted to have an odontoid synchondrosis fracture and severe anterior translational atlanto-axial subluxation. Initial attempts at reduction with halo traction were tried for first-line treatment. However, because of concern regarding possible inadvertent worsening of the impingement, the presence of comorbid macrocephaly, and possible instability with only C1–2 fusion, a posterior C1 laminectomy was performed. Further release of the C1–2 complex and odontoid peg from extensive fibrous tissue allowed for complete reduction. Acute injuries of the C1–2 complex may not present as expected, and the presence of pain is not a reliable symptom. Halo traction is an appropriate initial treatment, but some patients may require surgical realignment and stabilization.

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Michael J. Strong, Julianne Santarosa, Timothy P. Sullivan, Noojan Kazemi, Jacob R. Joseph, Osama N. Kashlan, Mark E. Oppenlander, Nicholas J. Szerlip, Paul Park, and Clay M. Elswick


In the era of modern medicine with an armamentarium full of state-of-the art technologies at our disposal, the incidence of wrong-level spinal surgery remains problematic. In particular, the thoracic spine presents a challenge for accurate localization due partly to body habitus, anatomical variations, and radiographic artifact from the ribs and scapula. The present review aims to assess and describe thoracic spine localization techniques.


The authors performed a literature search using the PubMed database from 1990 to 2020, compliant with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). A total of 27 articles were included in this qualitative review.


A number of pre- and intraoperative strategies have been devised and employed to facilitate correct-level localization. Some of the more well-described approaches include fiducial metallic markers (screw or gold), metallic coils, polymethylmethacrylate, methylene blue, marking wire, use of intraoperative neuronavigation, intraoperative localization techniques (including using a needle, temperature probe, fluoroscopy, MRI, and ultrasonography), and skin marking.


While a number of techniques exist to accurately localize lesions in the thoracic spine, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the localization technique deployed by the spine surgeon will be patient-specific but often based on surgeon preference.