An anterior approach to spinal pathology of the upper thoracic spine through a partial manubriotomy

Technical note

Fred C. Lam M.D., Ph.D. and Michael W. Groff M.D.
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  • Division of Neurosurgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
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Surgical pathology in the region of the upper thoracic spine (T1–4) is uncommon compared with other regions of the spine. Often times posterior and posterolateral approaches can be used, but formal anterior decompression often requires a low anterior cervical approach combined with a sternotomy, which yields significant perioperative morbidity. The authors describe a modified low anterior cervical dissection combined with a partial manubriotomy that they have used to successfully access and decompress anterior pathology of the upper thoracic spine. Their modified approach spares the sternoclavicular joints and leaves the sternum intact, decreasing the morbidity associated with these added procedures.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Michael W. Groff, M.D., 110 Francis Street, Suite 3B, Division of Neurosurgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02215. email: mgroff@bidmc.harvard.edu.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online July 22, 2011; DOI: 10.3171/2011.6.SPINE11189.

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